Ursuline News

Exceptional Years of Service: A Series

The Exceptional Years of Service wall outside of Haggerty Library features Ursuline faculty and staff members who have been employed by The Academy for over 20 years. Over the next few months, we will be featuring those on the wall in a series. This week, we are pleased to introduce Ms. Bernie Paul.

Ursuline’s Theology Department welcomed Bernie Paul in August of 1981.

Yes, you read that right! Bernie first got her start at Ursuline in the Theology Department after a move from Michigan.

“I visited friends here in Dallas and fell under the Texas spell,” she said.

Her first five years at Ursuline were spent as Comparative Religion Teacher and Department Head of the Theology Department.

However, her first love was and is history. She moved departments and has since taught a variety of topics in Social Studies: US History, Psychology, AP Psychology, Sociology, Contemporary Issues, American Foreign Policy, History Through Film, 18th Century America, and Government.

“It makes me smile when students tell me that at the end of the year, they have come to look at history as not just a bunch of dates, but as a real unfolding of why the U.S. is the way it is,” she said. “I love telling the story.”

Her students also always leave her in awe.

“When I see graduates on Facebook or run into them, it is so heartwarming to hear how they are doing, where they are going, and how they have taken their Serviam lessons to levels unimagined,” she said. “And I admire my current students for their willingness to take on the challenges of a rough COVID-19 year and growing through the difficulties.”

Professionally, Bernie has always been a teacher. But at times, when the need arose, she’s added some other jobs to her resume.

“One school I taught at didn’t have medical assistance available during sports events, so I became a registered EMT, working on injured students and providing medical aid until we could transport to the local hospital,” she said. “And before I came to Ursuline, I was a cheerleading coach, a track & field coach, a yearbook advisor, and a liturgist!”

One of her more interesting memories? When she first arrived to UA in 1981, the Ursuline Sisters were carefully relocating the gravesite of the sisters’ cemetery (what is now UA’s softball field) to Calvary, a new Diocesan cemetery being built in Dallas.

“My tour of the campus took place while they were disinterring some of the sisters,” she said. “I did wonder what I was getting myself into when one of the caskets broke open as it was being pulled out of the ground… CREEPY!”

She also recalls the filming of Walker, Texas Ranger on campus.

“The storyline was about the daughter of a prominent politician being kidnapped from an all-girls, plaid-skirted, Academy in North Dallas,” she said. “Some of our students got to be extras in the kidnapping scene.”

When the mid-90s approached, Bernie was encouraged to follow her interests in technology. She was on the team that first brought desktop computers for teachers to the classrooms and then laptop computers to Ursuline students.

“I was the Techno Teacher of our faculty as we all became well-versed in various Microsoft products,” she said. “I have always been very proud of the role I played in helping launch our technology initiative.”

Celebrating 40 years at Ursuline at the end of May, Bernie will retire this year.

“I consider it an honor to have been associated with Ursuline Academy for these many years,” she said. “I think I have made a difference. I hope I did.”