Paul J. Asciolla, 65, a former priest and communications director who served on the Fauquier County School Board and taught in county schools, died of cancer Jan. 6 at Fauquier County Hospital. He lived in Marshall.

He was a school board member from 1995 to July 1999. He retired in 1998 from teaching English at Culpeper County High School and had earlier taught at Floyd T. Binns and A.G. Richardson elementary schools and Culpeper Alternate School. He was also coordinator in Fauquier for the Virginia drug-free school program.

Mr. Asciolla began his career in the schools of his native Bristol, R.I. He was a cum laude graduate in education of Providence College and received a second bachelor's degree, in theological studies, from the Charles Borromeo Seminary on Staten Island, N.Y. After he was ordained in the Scalabrini order, which ministers to immigrants, he attended the Pontifical College for Migration in Rome.

He received a master's degree in communication from Northwestern University.

While living in Illinois, he was principal of Sacred Heart Seminary in Melrose Park and administrator of a nursing home in Northlake.

He also edited a monthly newspaper aimed at Italian Americans and was Midwest director of the National Project on Ethnic America of the American Jewish Committee. He lectured at universities on intergroup relations and served on committees of multiethnic organizations.

In June 1974, in an article that cited his work in issues of racial and ethnic identity, Time magazine identified him as one of 200 future leaders of the United States. He was the subject of a chapter in Bill Moyers's book "Listening to America."

He moved to the Washington area in the mid-1970s to be communications director of Monsignor Geno Baroni's National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs. He left the Scalabrini order in 1977 while executive director of the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, which he founded.

Mr. Asciolla was appointed to the National Endowment for the Arts during President Jimmy Carter's administration and was director of federal agency relations and arts policy specialist.

After moving to Fauquier County in 1981, he became news director and public service director of WCVA radio stations in Culpeper and began the small Conde Vineyard. He went to work for the school system in 1988.

Mr. Asciolla was an organizer of winery festivals in Virginia and newsletter editor of the Virginia Vineyards Association. He was a member of the Fauquier Democratic Committee and ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia House of Delegates in 1997.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Virginia Cassiano Asciolla, and two children, Rosa Asciolla and Anthony Asciolla, all of Marshall.