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The Yankee Express

Grafton welcomes new AD

Ashley Paulsen is the new athletic director for the Grafton High School Gators. Chris Tremblay photo

By Christopher Tremblay, Staff Sports Writer

With the departure of Grafton Athletic Director Kevin Anderson making a move over to Ashland in the same position, he left a vacancy in Grafton that needed to be filled. Enter the Gators’ new Athletic Director Ashley Paulsen.
The new AD grew up in Framingham and was a gymnast there before heading to Arizona State to study business, but after finishing her college degree and working for TJX in her hometown for a couple of years, she realized that she was in the wrong field.
 “I originally thought that I’d work in corporate America for a Fortune 500 company and make lots of money,” Paulsen said. “After working for TJX, I found that working 9-5, sitting at a desk just wasn’t for me. I had always coached gymnastics and wanted to take my abilities to the high school; thinking that it was a good niche, teaching the younger athletes.”
Paulsen felt that she was still young enough to teach the high school athletes the skills that needed to be successful, while still being able to use a tough love mentality in their training.  In 2015 she was coaching gymnastics at her alma mater while subbing on a part-time basis as a teacher. A few years later she started to get into teaching and had an opportunity to become a long-term high school teacher, so she jumped at the opportunity. 
In the meantime, she was studying to better herself and looking to become an athletic director down the road, when she landed a job with Framingham high school as the Assistant Athletic Director.  For the past four years she studied under her mentor Paul Spear. 
 “I loved being at Framingham and learned a lot from Paul,” she said “He taught me everything and gave me the full athletic director experience over those four years.
Last summer Paulsen and her boyfriend bought a house in Grafton and found herself commuting to and from Framingham, when an opportunity opened up in Grafton. This was too good to be true, so Paulsen decided to apply for the vacancy that Anderson left.
 “I happened to be preparing for AD jobs, when the opportunity came up in Grafton,” Paulsen said. “Having been in the town for about a year I had come to love everything that Grafton stood for and the community aspect of the town, especially with athletics.”
Now as the Gators’ new AD Paulsen wants to continue the success that Andrson built over his tenure in Grafton. She would also like to expand the sport options in terms of adding more teams to the athletic programs. According to the new AD, Grafton is adding a Junior Varsity 2 (much like a freshman team) to the boys soccer program and volleyball seems to be gaining a ton of traction that would require 3 levels. 
She would like to bridge the gap between the youth sports and the middle school sports and middle school to high school.
 “There are a lot of amazing youth sports here in Grafton,” Paulsen said. “I want to continue to work with everyone together as one and get sports in the area on a higher level.”