Barry McRaith

Founder/CEO Barry McRaith

Barry is an innovative educator and leader.

Barry has been a devoted urban educator for twenty-eight years, teaching and leading within a variety of secondary schools: public (charter, magnet, and test-based selective enrollment), Catholic, and Yeshiva. Additionally, he has taught university courses for future educators and community-based writing workshops for adolescents. Barry has been awarded degrees in English (M.A., Northwestern University) and Educational Leadership in Curriculum, Instruction, and Evaluation (M.Ed., University of Illinois – Chicago).

Barry believes that highly engaged, rigorous teaching and learning manifests most profoundly when learners are understood as assets - not deficits - in the process.

Barry is a three-time University of Chicago Outstanding Teacher Award recipient; two-time Illinois Math and Science Academy’s Teaching Award of Excellence recipient; Congressional Black Caucus Foundation “Outstanding Teacher Award” recipient; multiple Golden Apple nominee across three school settings; and other educational awards' winner and nominee. He is the creator of a new critical and creative thinking paradigm, “As to Bs,” that results in individuals excelling through self-directed learning. 

Barry possesses one central thesis about public education today. Generally but with nuance, two powerful forces clash. One powerful force argues that public education must exhibit greater accountability, measured quantitatively, to demonstrate America’s investment in its own future. The other powerful force argues that public education must claim its ethical responsibility, mostly measured qualitatively, for the humanist education of its children. Barry believes these positions to be mutually compatible; he writes about this and much more at Hansel and Gretel. The Purple Pen embodies that mutual compatibility.

Each day of The Purple Pen's journey, Barry is grateful to team with the exceptional skills and abundant generosity of many.