Paul A. Barra
Published works of Paul A. Barra
St. Joe's Remarkable Journey
Paul A. Barra is an award-winning journalist and teacher. Ever since 1985, he has been either a teacher and part-time reporter or a reporter and part-time teacher.
He has won state awards for his news writing and photography from the South Carolina Press Association and from the South Carolina Auditing Council and other advocacy groups, and national awards for his writing from the Catholic Press Association. He has been published in The Science Teacher, Newsday, Farm Journal, Our Sunday Visitor and in regional magazines, and is a regular correspondent for The National Catholic Register and for St. Austin Review. While senior staff writer for the Diocese of Charleston from 1993-97, he wrote a historically accurate mystery featuring the Bishop of Charleston during the Civil War. The editor of The Catholic Miscellany called it “…a marriage of style and scholarship in sparkling writing.” Houghton-Mifflin published his four science readers in 2006. His non-fiction book about a private Catholic high school, founded by parents in Greenville, SC, and included in the nation’s Top 20 Catholic High Schools just ten years later, was published by Tumblar House in May 2008.
In 2001-2002, he was selected as Teacher-of-the Year for Greenwood School District 52. He teaches chemistry at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. In 2005-2006, Barra was the recipient of SJCS’s Fr. Hayden Vaverek Excellence in Teaching award. Previously, he taught A. P. biology and chemistry at Ninety Six High School, where he was also dept. chair, webmaster, cross-country coach and SAT Team coach. He has been awarded four grants to supplement his classroom work. He chaired committees regularly for his schools and was the district chair for the Horry County School District AIDS Curriculum Development Committee in 1991.
Barra holds a BS in Natural Sciences from Niagara University in New York and a MRE (masters in religious education) from Loyola University of New Orleans in Louisiana.
He was a bartender and a health inspector in New York before migrating to SC and beginning his dual career as a reporter and teacher. He is a licensed charter boat captain and swimming pool operator, certified to teach Advanced Placement and all sciences through grade 12, a former state Youth-Minister-of-the-Year, a church lector and an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. He served as director of religious education for Nativity parish on James Island from 1997 to 1999.
A veteran of two tours in Vietnam, Barra served five years as a naval officer and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during two years in the Navy Reserve, when he was captain of a (nonexistent) mine-sweeper in Hilo, HI. As the advisor to a South Vietnamese river gunboat, Lt. Barra was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V”, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Republic of South Vietnam Service Medal and its Cross of Gallantry with Palm, along with multiple campaign ribbons.
Paul A. Barra is married to the former Joan Lee; they have seven children and reside in Reidville, South Carolina.
St. Joseph's website