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Glenwood athletic director a finalist for national award: 'It's about everyone'

Jeff Bissen, Glenwood Activities Director
Posted at 6:52 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 19:52:06-05

GLENWOOD, Iowa (KMTV) — Jeff Bissen, the activities director for Glenwood High School is one of eight educators nominated for national athletic director of the year by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association; it's an award presented in June by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

  • Glenwood mom, and member of Glenwood City Council, Christina Duran has three kids in sports. She's especially appreciative of the support Bissen gave her son after he experienced a bullying incident: "... All he was, was supportive..."
  • Bissen: “This award is not necessarily an award for me. It’s about everyone who plays a part in what we do from an activities standpoint…”
  • Video shows ... track practice at Glenwood High School; a photo of the Duran family from when they lived in Brooklyn, New York and video shortly after they moved to Iowa; images around Glenwood High School.


Glenwood High School activities director Jeff Bissen is up for a national award. I'm your southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter Katrina Markel at Glenwood High School and one mom says maybe it’s because Mr. Bissen makes kids feel seen and heard. Bissen is one of eight finalists, from around the country, up for athletic director of the year, presented by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Nominees are considered on a range of achievements from program improvements to state-wide leadership.

He’s humble about it…

“This award is not necessarily an award for me. It’s about everyone who plays a part in what we do from an activities standpoint…”

But for parent, Christina Duran, Bissen’s accomplishments are more personal. Her family moved to Glenwood, her hometown, from Brooklyn, New York during the pandemic. She has three kids in sports. She says one experienced race-related bullying. Mr. Bissen helped him through it.

“....They just needed a safe adult – and some of the other adults didn’t show up in such a safe way and Mr. Bissen was very supportive,” said Duran. “He didn’t try to over-relate on things that he couldn’t relate to. All he was, was supportive and was like, ‘What do you need?’ and so I’ve been a fan of his since then…”

Her son, Marcus, is a sophomore now and credits Bissen for helping him improve his grades this year.

“I feel like he’s been to everything and he’s been trying to support everybody in everything that they do — not even just, like, sports … I feel like he’s just very supportive of everyone,” Marcus Duran said.

“We try to make everything we do a big deal. It’s not just about boys' track, it’s not just about wrestling, it’s not just about girls' basketball. It’s about everything we do, so trying to make every sport, every activity — everything here a big deal. So I’m proud of that,” said Bissen.

Not only sports, but he’s also proud of the arts programs he oversees.

Bissen won’t know if he’s won until the coaches association banquet in June. Regardless of the outcome — or the activity — Bissen will be working to make his school a place where kids can shine.

At Glenwood High School, I’m your Southwest Iowa neighborhood reporter, Katrina Markel