For Jen Gosselin, her new position as Winters Mill athletic director is more than just a job — it's a mission.
The 47-year-old Gosselin is set to become the second woman to serve as athletic director in county history when she begins July 1. She coached Francis Scott Key's girls basketball team for a decade and the school's track and field squads for 11 seasons.
"As a woman, I just don't want this to be about me," Gosselin said. "It's important for young girls to see women in leadership positions."
Gosselin sees herself as a trailblazer for other women and brims with optimism on that subject.
"I think this is just the beginning and I think it's going to explode," said Gosselin, who is replacing the retiring Craig Walker. "I think you are going to see a lot more women as athletic directors."
The county's first female athletic director was Margaret Cush, who served as AD at Westminster from 2001 to 2003. Cush initially took over as interim athletic director before being promoted.
Walker, 59, is leaving his post after two years as Winters Mill's AD. Before that, Walker served as athletic director at Francis Scott Key (2006-15) and Century (2001-06), and has worked in the school system for 30 years.
Gosselin, a Manchester resident who earned a spot in the Carroll County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, said she can't wait to get started and is already bristling with ideas.
"I want the coaches, faculty and staff to feed off the passion and energy that I have to create a strong athletic program," Gosselin said. "I am going to bring that across to them. I want to come in and learn from them and also work for them and with them."
Gosselin said her athletic background, along with a county program that trains her in athletic management, has prepared her well for the job. The three-year-old program allowed her to serve as assistant to Francis Scott Key AD Stephen Speck for the past two fall sports seasons.
Her job duties included setting up indoor and outdoor athletic events, and coordinating schedules for transportation, she said.
"I was already doing a lot of things athletic directors do," Gosselin said. "I thought, 'This is something I would love to do.'"
Speck said she made that clear to him.
"She has stepped in on many occasions to offer support when I have been in need at different times throughout the year," he said. "She's smart, charismatic and has developed relations in the community. Those are the things you need in a leadership role."
Gosselin said she has thought about being an athletic director since she started coaching at FSK in 2005, where she also has worked as a dropout prevention coordinator and classroom instructional assistant. She said she plans to stay at Winters Mill for a long time.
"I have such a passion for athletics and it has been a big part of my life since I can remember," Gosselin said. "I love everything about it: watching games, the atmosphere and competing. I loved all of that and I still do."
As a student in high school and college, Gosselin had an impressive career as an athlete — first at Francis Scott Key and later at Mount St. Mary's. She ran both indoor and outdoor track and played field hockey at the Mount.
Gosselin played three sports in high school — field hockey, basketball, and track. She earned Times Field Hockey Player of the Year honors in 1986 and was named the Times Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year the following year. She won a combined four outdoor state track championships in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Gosselin says one of her favorite things about working at Winters Mill will be interacting with female athletes, and giving them advice if needed.
"The athletes can come talk to me," she explained. "I played sports in high school and college. I can share the experiences I've had. I think it's important to create a path for girls and women to see this."