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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Glenn Bliss is a dedicated educator

  • Glenn Bliss hasn’t missed a track meet in 20 years, but he’ll miss one today.



    The Pittsburg Community Middle School physical education teacher will be busy accepting a Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Service Award during ceremonies at 7 p.m. today in McCray Recital Hall, Pittsburg State University.

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  • Glenn Bliss hasn’t missed a track meet in 20 years, but he’ll miss one today.
    The Pittsburg Community Middle School physical education teacher will be busy accepting a Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Service Award during ceremonies at 7 p.m. today in McCray Recital Hall, Pittsburg State University.
    The award, which goes to outstanding administrators or educators whose career has been highlighted by significant achievement and excellence in education, will cap off Bliss’ career. He is retiring at the end of this school year.
    “I taught 40 years in the physical education department, 20 years in elementary schools and 20 years at the middle school,” Bliss said. “Pittsburg USD 250 is the only district I’ve worked in.”
    He said that he was really elated at receiving the award.
    “I have put my life in what I do for kids,” Bliss said. “I’ve also been a youth pastor at two different churches in Pittsburg, and I still do that.”
    Born in Kansas City, Kan., he graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1964.
    “I had a music teacher there who was a big influence in my life and came down to Pittsburg as a music major my first year, but I found that wasn’t my thing,” Bliss said.
    He had already been doing some coaching, so turned his major over to physical education. Bliss earned a bachelor of science in education in physical education, a master of science in education in physical education and an administration certificate, all from PSU. He began teaching in 1971.
    “Forty years ago there was no physical education in Pittsburg elementary schools,” he said.
    The program was started, and Bliss found himself traveling between Eugene Field, Westside and George Nettels Elementary Schools.
    “Twenty years ago they moved me to the middle school,” he said. “It was hard to give up my little elementary kids, but I’ve enjoyed the middle school, too.”
    Bliss was the first freshman girls’ basketball coach when the program started with Title 9. He developed a bicycle safety program for the Kansas State Department of Education, and a bicycle safety movie he filmed at Westside was used nationwide. He also initiated a swimming and water safety program for all Pittsburg elementary students, and developed a bowling program for sixth grade students and a roller skating program for third graders.
    He strives to give youngsters a positive experience in his classes.
    “One of my deals is to get kids to have a smile on their face,” Bliss said. “We have kids who’ve had a bad experience at another school, and I tell them that they’re going to have a positive experience at our school. I try to give them something positive every day.”
    Bliss has mentored numerous PSU education students by being a cooperating teacher for student teachers and pre-lab students.
    Page 2 of 2 - A loyal Gorilla, he has also worked to support the various sports teams. He has been scorekeeper for the men’s and women’s basketball teams for about 20  years, and play clock operator for the football team.
    For the last 46 hears Bliss has been a certified official for the State of Kansas,  and has received recognition from the Kansas State High School Officials Association for his service as a football and basketball referee.
    “I began officiating when my wife RoseMary and I got married,” he said.
    He also taught all the swimming classes at the Pittsburg YMCA when it was in its old building at Fourth and Pine.
    “When we built the new building I served on the board,” Bliss said.
    An Eagle Scout, he was on the Boy Scouts of America District Council and served as a merit badge counselor, and also was a Boy Scouts of America water front director in Michigan for two years.
    “A water front director is in charge of a swimming pool or lake area,” Bliss explained. “We taught boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming and took care of safety issues.”
    A Sunday school teacher for 20  years, he took teens and children to church youth camps for 20 years.
    “There’s a lot of hours when you do these jobs, and it may be 7 or 8 or 10 or 11 at night when you get home,” he said.
    But, Bliss said, the decision to retire was the hardest decision he has ever made in his life. His wife retired from Haderlein Elementary School in 2011 after 43 years of teaching, mostly kindergarten classes.
    “I’ve got a fishing boat I don’t use very often, and a group of friends who are already retired who’ve been waiting for me to retire so I can do things with them,” Bliss said.
    However, he can’t entirely give up his work with youth.
    “I’ll probably continue to coach track at the middle school and high school, and will continue as a church youth pastor,” Bliss said. “My love for the kids has been my life and my wife has been my inspiration.”
    Also receiving a Clyde U. Phillips Distinguished Service Award will be Terri Hart, coordinator of curriculum, instruction and assessment, Joplin Schools.  Clyde U. Phillips Outstanding Educator Awards will be presented to Lacey Hight, third grade teacher, USD 508 Central Elementary School, Baxter Springs, and Matt Robertson, U.S. history and world geography teacher, Wyandotte High School, Wyandotte, Okla.

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