M ARY A. GOODEN TERRELL was nominated by President William Clinton, confirmed by Congress and sworn in as an Associate Judge for the District of Columbia Superior Court in September 1997. She retired in 2008 to fulfill her commitment to work with girls from economically challenged communities through the High Tea Society, Inc., a non-profit organization she founded in 1997 for inner city girls ages 9-18 who attend the District of Columbia Public Schools and charter schools. She received her Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University School of Law. Judge Terrell is an educator and youth advocate. She has spent over 20 years training teachers, administrators and developing educational programs for inner city youth to deter them from the criminal justice system. She is the founder of the Dix Street Academy, an alternative high school for youth who dropped out or were pushed out of the District of Columbia Public School.
Judge Terrell is a former Assistant United States Attorney. Judge Terrell is involved in International Judicial Training in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Judicial Assessment and Reform. She worked in Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana and South Africa. In 2006, the Honorable Jendayi Fraser, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, appointed Judge Terrell to chair a Panel for the African Judiciary that would create viable models for judicial reform in Benin, Malawi and Liberia. She is the founder of the African Judicial Network that promotes and supports best legal practices among the judiciaries throughout the continent.
Judge Terrell is a founding member of the National Congress of Black Women.
She was also inducted into the D.C. Women’s Hall of Fame in March 1998. In June 2003, Judge Terrell was inducted into the Washington Bar Association Hall of Fame. In April 2008, she was inducted into the Washington, D.C. Hall of Fame. She is a former Co-Chair of the Embassy Relations Committee of Rotary Club of Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Judicial Academy, Continentals Inc, and the Center for International Private Enterprise. She is a White House volunteer and docent for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in Andhra Pradesh, India.