Todd Gordon
Todd Gordon

April 10, 2018

The Carroll School Board will conduct its final round of interviews for the three candidates for the school’s activities director position on Wednesday.

The candidates include a former Manning resident looking to get back to a small town, a father of four with very involved kids and a local Carroll teacher and coach. The new activities director will replace longtime Athletic Director Keith Stribe.

The finalists are Todd Gordon, Andrew Mitchell and Randy Bissen.

The candidates will be available to speak to the public during meet-and-greets Wednesday at the Carroll High School auditorium: from 5-5:30 p.m. for Bissen, 6-6:30 p.m. for Gordon and 6:30-7 p.m. for Mitchell. Stribe and Kevin Lein, who will begin work as Carroll’s superintendent during the upcoming school year, will run the meet-and-greets.

Gordon currently works as an activities director at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines. He previously worked as an athletic director at the Carlisle Community School District in Carlisle, Iowa, and Treynor Community School District in Treynor, Iowa.

When Gordon started at Roosevelt High School in 2015, his plan was to bring a bigger social media presence to the school.

In the past few years, he said, he has helped do exactly that.

“I started a really active Twitter campaign,” Gordon said. “I constantly use Twitter to update results. I just think you’ve got to have a phone handy. I’ve started a very active website to share information. Just a very professional website that people can go to find out about our programs. I’ve always had an app for the department that people can get as well. I broadcast live events. We just need to celebrate the great things that go on.”

His website is desmoinesroosevelths.rschoolteams.com.

In addition to his passion for social media, Gordon also started a hall of fame, inviting former Roosevelt athletes back to the school to share about their accomplishments.

He hosts a reception at the school for the speaker, and then a ceremony to induct them into the school’s hall of fame takes place at a sporting event such as a basketball game, Gordon said.

After years in Des Moines, Gordon is looking to move back to a small town with his wife, Deb.

Gordon, 55, spent 10 years in Manning as a boys basketball coach. He said he is ready to get out of Des Moines and back to a smaller town.

“It’s the fact of being in a small community,” he said. “I know Kuemper is there too. Kuemper is a great institution. The Roosevelt community is a great community itself. It’s just a great opportunity. It’s just one of those jobs I think I’ve always had my eye on.”

Mitchell works as the activities director for the Fort Madison Community School District in Fort Madison, Iowa. He previously worked as a secondary principal at AlWood Middle School and High School in Woodhull, Illinois.

This is his fifth year at Fort Madison, and in these past few years, he said, he has been working to promote sports and other school activities to younger kids.

Last year, he brought high-school students to the elementary school to walk the halls, see their former teachers and chat with younger students about getting involved in school, Mitchell said.

“We want kids to talk to each other,” Mitchell said. “We want our varsity athletes to put their arm around them and welcome them into the program and show them what the Carroll Tiger way is. We also want them to be role models for our younger students — just to develop that bond and encourage.”

Mitchell said he has been successful in hiring a new head soccer coach and football coach, who both have been reshaping and growing their teams.

“I think that the coaches that I’ve hired, especially the head coaches, have been really great,” he said.

Mitchell said that in previous years, Fort Madison’s girls soccer team was barely winning one or two games; now, the team is making conference championships.

He said that he believes he has a knack for finding the right coaches for the school.

“I think I’m pretty good judge of character,” he said. “Most of the time, I think I’m pretty good at getting the right men or women.”

In order to be closer to his 19-year-old daughter, Emily, who is attending Iowa State University, Mitchell said, he’s been looking for a job closer to the Des Moines area.

He said he doesn’t know a lot about the Carroll Community School District but believes Carroll is the right fit for him and his family.

“I don’t know all the ins and outs,” Mitchell said. “You never know exactly what is going on inside a school district. I want to make sure my kids have the best possible education. Carroll just fits all of those needs. On a side note, I will get to go to a lot more Cyclone football games. I know there is a lot of pride in Carroll. I am more than willing to dive right in to those groups and see what we need to do.”

Mitchell, 45, is married to Diane, who is an art teacher. Together they have four kids: Emily, 19; Tyler, 16; Grace, 10; and Anna, 2.

He said they are very involved in sports and other after-school activities.

Like his own kids, Mitchell said, he wants to see students in school involved in many activities.

“Besides talking to the kids and encouraging them, I think it’s working on sharing kids, because we need kids to play multiple activities,” he said.

Bissen works as a fourth-grade teacher at the Carroll Community School District. He also is the schools’ head boys basketball coach and girls golf coach. He previously worked as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.

Bissen declined to comment until the meet-and-greet on Wednesday.