Dr. Paul Barker Endowment for Student Talent (BEST) Scholarship

Kind eyes, thoughtful words and plenty of great ideas. These striking qualities of Dr. Paul Barker, and the dedication with which he improves anything he encounters, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School for 12 years. When he retired in the spring of 2023, Dr. Barker left behind much more than a vacant position at the head of the school. He made an indelible impression that will last throughout the school’s future.

Barker grew Good Counsel’s endowment, spearheaded the fundraising for and construction of the magnificent Performing Arts Center in 2016, helped diversify the student body, and built up the Global Program, band, and STEM programs to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

“Dr. Barker’s open and inclusive approach, his eloquent speaking, his insistence of productive communication, regardless of how difficult the challenge and his commitment to students’ well-being have enabled him to enrich and improve the school during his tenure and well into the future,” said Rita O’Donnell, past chair of the Good Counsel Board of Directors.

In Barker’s mind, GC is clearly a school of distinction. “I hope its reputation continues to grow,” he said. “I think the school merits being a school of choice. Historically, Good Counsel has shown it is willing to take risks to try to be better.” It was one of the first high schools in the area to adopt a block schedule, he pointed out, and it has the oldest International Baccalaureate program of any Catholic school in the DC-Metro Area. “Twenty years from now, who knows where it will be. But the school has finished its strategic plan, thinking about things like technology and micro-schools, and I think the sky’s the limit,” Barker said. He also hopes the school will continue to focus on the Xaverian tradition. “The Brothers’ sense of community and the five values are truly important.”

Barker is confident that Good Counsel’s successes will continue to grow.

The BEST Scholars Program

The BEST Scholars program is an initiative to honor the retirement of Dr. Paul Barker. In his honor, Good Counsel created the Dr. Paul Barker Endowment for Student Talent, known as The BEST Scholars Program.

The Barker Endowment for Student Excellence expands access to incoming first-year students interested in attending Good Counsel. Barker Scholars will have demonstrated academic promise and a commitment to community service. The endowment supplements Good Counsel’s need and merit based scholarship resources, impacting our capacity to recruit new students and increasing our ability to meet the financial need of students who display academic excellence.



Inaugural recipient will be awarded beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year.