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Paul Sullivan
Excellence in Education

Proponents of a holistic approach to education argue that schools should educate both the mind and body. Inherent in this philosophy is an expectation that academic institutions offer varied co-curricular programs in the arts, music and athletics. The ideal holistic educator has a deep appreciation for the interdependence of these different realms, as well as degree of expertise in each. Paul Sullivan fits this profile exactly. Since in 1973, Mr. Sullivan has excelled as a teacher, coach, athletic director and supporter of the arts who has practiced a multi-dimensional approach to learning his entire career.

To make a long story short, Paul decided to pursue a career in education because he enjoyed learning, working with children, and the prospect of teaching in the classroom as well as on the athletic fields. While teaching at the Junior HS, Paul established himself as an energetic, creative teacher who favored a multi-dimensional approach toward history. He produced daily lessons where the facts were flavored with music and the arts, and the people who shaped history came alive as the sometimes-flawed individuals that they were. In addition, he learned the value of classroom management and being timely from his first principal, Mr. Henry McDeed, and he recalls fondly the boosts of confidence he received about his curriculum projects from occasional notes left in his mailbox by Superintendent William Kelly.

Mr. Sullivan joined the High School History Department in 1997. There he enjoyed the guidance, support, and intellectual spirit of Mary Ellen Palenchar, Humanities Department Chair, who encouraged strong critical thinking skills along with a creative spirit that made working with her a pleasure. He also credits Ken Pickering and Wilson Whitty for their strong, fair administration and the school climate they created that allowed teachers to do their job. In addition, Sully developed great admiration for the work ethic of the many teacher-coaches whose integrity and passion for North Attleboro was evident every day. For his exemplary teaching, Paul was recognized in 1996 as the Daughters of the American Revolution History Teacher of the Year.

Though his classroom teaching alone would qualify Paul for this award, he has served with equal distinction in athletics as a coach of several boys and girls sports (Jr. High to HS) and Athletic Director. Coach Sullivan coaches with the same passion and determination he displays in the classroom. At the core of his coaching philosophy is a belief in the value of having high expectations and teaching his players how to reach their potential. Consequently, his teams have always been disciplined and tough and have played with a lot of heart.

Mr. Sullivan is the current NAHS varsity baseball coach. His teams possess an impressive 44-18 record, including one league championship in three years. However, he is best known for his contributions to the Red Rocketeer football program. Sully began as a freshman assistant under Coach Bob Guthrie then served as offensive coordinator under legendary head coach Ray Beaupre. In 1997, Paul became head coach and led North High to five Hockomock League championships and four Super Bowl Championships, as well as an impressive 38-game winning streak, in seven years. Throughout his tenure, Coach Sullivan’s offenses were balanced and prolific, and he was constantly reading and studying film in order to make himself the best-prepared coach he could be. The Boston Globe recognized him as Coach of the Year in 2001 and again in 2003.

Paul left the classroom in 2001 to replace Ray Beaupre as Athletic Director. In this capacity, he has overseen the expansion of the athletic department and has led with the same passion and high expectations he brought to teaching and coaching. He also helped inaugurate the Sportsmanship Banner for the Hockomock League, which NAHS won in 2006.

If you made a movie of Mr. Sullivan’s career, its soundtrack would be a medley of Beatles songs, and the script would include pearls of wisdom from philosophers ranging from Lennon and McCartney to Attila the Hun. The cast would include a collection of characters who, like Paul, work hard, play hard and laugh hard. Of course, there would be cameos of Paul’s wife, Jane, and their three children: Maura 27, John 24, and Patrick 22.