Address: 6005 Midwood Ave, Monona
Family: Married to Kristin; children Katherine, 13, and Will, 11
Job: Senior Instrumentation Tech., UW-Madison Department of Geoscience
Education: Bachelor's in Physics, University of Notre Dame; Master's in Physics, Purdue University
Political Experience: Member, Monona Grove School Board, for three years. Served as board Vice-president, Treasurer and Chair, Business Services Committee
What do you believe is the most important issue facing your district?
Sobol: Performance. Monona Grove has quality schools, but growth in academic achievement needs to be improved to meet the needs of our students and the expectations of the community. (The district) has taken important steps but needs to complete the transition to an outcome-oriented model of operation, including strategic planning and instituting a culture of continuous improvement.
Early last year, the district considered busing students to other schools to alleviated crowding in Cottage Grove schools. Where do you stand on using busing to solve this problem? What other options do you favor?
Sobol: The Cottage Grove elementary schools are at capacity, but the situation is manageable with existing facilities. Enrollment projections are stable or decreasing over the next few years in those schools so I don't anticipate the need for additional measures. If this changes then options such as modular units or two 4K-4 facilities will likely be less expensive than busing a significant number of students.
MG School Board
Family: Spouse: Kristin, Children: Katherine 13, 7th grader at GDS. Will: 11, 6th grader at Winnequah
Education: M.S. (Physics) Purdue University, B.S. (Physics) University of Notre Dame
Website: I maintain a blog at http://petersobol.blogspot.com as my contribution towards keeping the community informed about issues before the board and my perspective. Information about my campaign can be found at http://sobolformgsd.blogspot.com/.
Occupation: Senior Instrumentation Technologist, U. of Wisconsin, Dept of Geosciences; and CTO, Synchrotron Research Inc. a developer of analytical instrumentation.
• Three years as MGSD Board Member. I have held the offices of Board Treasurer, Vice-President, and Business Services Committee Chair during that time.
• Good working relationships with District Staff.
• Parent of two MGSD students
• Small Business Entrepreneur.
• Former Department Director for a hi-tech Fortune 500 corporation
• Extensive Management and Quality training.
John Adams, by David McCullough. We tend to idolize the nation’s founders as giants, but what I find most interesting is that their lasting accomplishments where made despite their all too human weaknesses and failings.
Interests/Hobbies: I’ve always loved sailing and after a several year hiatus I recently purchased a small sail boat for use on Lake Monona this summer. Year round I like to read and listen to history in books and podcasts.
To date I have not received any contributions from any current or former board members. Except for current board members I will accept contributions from any community member wishing to support me.
In my first campaign I raised and spent just $1000, I expect to spend about the same this year. I have become concerned about the increasing amounts of money spent in School Board campaigns in recent years and hope the trend is reversed. Campaigns that are too costly become a disincentive to qualified members of our community.
District must focus on deficit, but also on improved performance
Our district faces two serious challenges in the next several years. The looming budget deficit is a pressing issue that will dominate much of the board’s time and district’s activity for the next several years. But I think a greater challenge facing the district is the one of performance. We have a good school district and quality schools, but more needs to be done to fully live up to the high expectations of our communities. Improving the performance of our school district is critical to the future of our students and the continued success of Monona and Cottage Grove. Specifically I believe we need to complete a transition to an outcome oriented model of operation where educational decisions are made based on a set of carefully defined goals that leave our students well prepared for the next step in their lives. Our district has taken important steps in this direction, but difficult work remains to be done.
Based on my experience with best practices from both the public and private sector I have developed a plan to help address the performance and budget issues facing the district. Some of the key elements I would like to implement if given the opportunity include:
• Completion of a strategic long-range plan to provide essential guidance for budget decisions and alignment of district activities and curriculum 4k-12 to well defined goals.
• Continue working toward adoption of relevant, quality assessments in all areas and improved data utilization to provide comprehensive feedback as basis for accountability for district performance at all levels.
• Administrative re-organization to focus the talents of our highly trained educational leaders on the core academic mission of the district.
• Improve the capability of staff at all levels through the development of high standards for staff hiring decisions, collaborative professional development and goal oriented accountability.
• Explore creative solutions for support services, such as cooperative agreements with neighboring districts – if we are going to achieve significant savings to preserve the fiscal condition of the district we are going to have to find new ways of doing business.
The district will have to make some difficult choices over the next several years, but with the right leadership and a willingness to engage the community and search for creative solutions I believe our schools can emerge from the current budget crisis as a stronger asset to our community. More details of what I would like to achieve can be found at http://sobolformgsd. blogspot.com/.
I’d like to thank the voters of the district for the opportunity to serve on the School Board for the last 3 years; with my experience and record of success I believe that I can continue to be an asset to the school district in the future.