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Crane to become new athletic director

Photo by Karen Hickey

Jennifer Crane was named the new Athletic Director on April 1 after Nelson Gifford was released from his previous position last Thursday. Gifford, who joined Paly’s coaching staff in 2018 and resigned as head football coach Tuesday, will continue working at Paly as a special education teacher.

Crane, a special education teacher who started the field hockey team in 2018, has participated extensively in athletic programs, according to an email from Assistant Principal LaDonna Butler, who oversees the athletic department.

“Jennifer Crane is a creative forward thinker that understands the current athletic department model from the inside-out,” Butler said in the email. “Her student centered approach is essential to our belief that athletics is an extension of the classroom, where student-athletes learn life-long lessons that teach them to compete between the lines of the classroom, in the athletic arena and toward their post-secondary pursuits. Her core values are in alignment with the goals and aspirations of  Paly Athletics and PAUSD, including strong character, hard work and humility in service to others.”

The email said that prior to coaching at Paly, Crane was the Varsity Field Hockey Coach at Westmont High School in Campbell, CA. She also played Division I Field Hockey at UC Berkeley and was on the California Regional Field Hockey Team.

Track and field coach Michael Davidson said while he has not yet talked to Crane, he looks forward to a seamless shift within the athletic department. 

“The hope is just that the transition runs smoothly,” Davidson said. “That’s the main thing for me. All remains to be seen.”

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