After the resignation of Assistant Athletic Director Carl Parker in Aug. 2020, GDS decided to look inward, promoting PE teacher and coach Pam Stanfield to fill the vacant position. Stanfield, who has worked at the school for eight years, now occupies the office next to Athletic Director David Gillespie above the high school gym and focuses particularly on the middle school athletic program.
Stanfield’s goal is to use sports as an outlet to unite and galvanize the GDS community.
“I want athletics to be a bigger and more prominent part of GDS,” Stanfield said. “I want the kids to feel comfortable. I want them to be challenged. I want them to learn how to persevere.”
Asked what made Stanfield stand out in the hiring process, Gillespie responded that her creativity and open mind provided the department with new ideas about how to improve and that what particularly popped out was “her energy and her experience having played sports in college.”
Stanfield’s love of sports, on and off the field, started in her playing days. She played basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball at Riverdale Baptist School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and went on to play basketball at American University.
“Growing up playing sports—learning discipline, learning how to collaborate and teamwork—I think those are the main things that help me when it comes to transitioning into the new role,” Stanfield said.
After graduating from American University, Stanfield’s goal was to become a college strength and conditioning coach. She went on to complete strength training internships at the Athlete’s Performance in Gulf Breeze, Florida and at the Eisenhower Executive Building in Washington, D.C. Before becoming a PE teacher at GDS, Stanfield coached at the Edmund Burke School.
Senior Sofia Greenfield, who plays for Stanfield on the women’s varsity basketball team, said that her coach is very well respected among both students and faculty.
“She has always cared for each and everyone of her students,” Greenfield said.
Stanfield’s new job includes scheduling, making sure every team has the necessary equipment, planning transportation for away games and practices and hiring referees for each home game. With the new unified campus, Stanfield hopes to capitalize on the opportunity to get kids enthusiastic about sports at the middle school level, which will lead to greater participation in high school sports, and to draw middle school attendance at high school games.
“I want the middle schoolers to attend high school games, so they can see all of the photos and banners hanging up,” Stanfield said. “My goal is to align the middle school and high school athletic departments.”
Gillespie is confident in Stanfield to successfully manage the middle school athletic program. He hopes she will build a stronger sense of cohesion between the two programs, as Stanfield has experience coaching at both the middle school and high school levels.
“I know about her ability to make positive connections with kids,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie added that continuing to coach will also allow Stanfield to continue to interact and communicate with the coaches she oversees. Coaching will allow Stanfield to understand their perspective and how the athletic program can improve from a coach’s point of view.
Stanfield and Gillespie meet with each other on a frequent basis and, according to Gillespie, so far are in lockstep as they set out their future plan. As the working relationship between Stanfield and Gillespie continues to evolve, it will be paramount for them to continue to collaborate.
“There is not a day that goes by that Pam and I don’t meet,” Gillespie said. “Together we complement each other.”
Alex Rubinson ’22