Jill Sorbie

By Michael S. Hoey


The Delavan-Darien School District hired Jill Sorbie to take over as director of curriculum and instruction. Sorbie will begin her new position Monday.

Former Director of Curriculum and Instruction Deborah Erdmann left the district June 30 to accept another unspecified position. Erdmann came to the district in July 2015.

Sorbie is originally from Salem in Kenosha County and graduated from what was then called Salem Central High School. The school is now known as Westosha Central. Sorbie said she remembers attending football games at Borg Stadium against Delavan-Darien when she was at Central.

Sorbie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, got her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received her doctorate of education in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development from Walden University in Minnesota.

Sorbie began her career in education as a teacher at Wheatland Center Middle School in Burlington. Sorbie then moved to Georgia to become an elementary school teacher at Frederica Academy. Sorbie said she moved to Georgia because her husband, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent at the Great Lakes Naval Academy in Chicago, got transferred to another post in Georgia.

In addition to teaching at the Frederica Academy, Sorbie was the co-developer of a new K-5 writing program, a co-facilitator of professional development sessions to enhance teacher pedagogy, a leader of the school’s one-to-one technology program, a K-12 math curriculum coordinator and a school facilitator and interpreter for standardized testing. Sorbie was named Teacher of the Year for the 2007-08 school year and the Outstanding Elementary School Social Studies Teacher for Georgia in 2009.

In 2015, Sorbie became the director of academics for the Frederica Academy. Sorbie said that position is very similar to director of curriculum and instruction in that she did many of the same things including being in charge of the entire curriculum for the academy and analyzing standardized testing data. Sorbie also served as an adjunct professor at Coastal College of Georgia last year.

Sorbie said it was time for her to come home as her husband retired and most of her family is in the southern Wisconsin area. Sorbie said she was drawn to the Delavan-Darien job because she was familiar with Superintendent Robert Crist from his reputation in the area and his time at Wilmot High School while she was interning elsewhere in that district.

“The work Dr. Crist has done in the last five years has been exciting,” Sorbie said. “He does his best to help every child be successful.”

Sorbie said she was familiar with the challenges facing public education in Wisconsin and said it would not take her long to refresh herself on the differences between private and public education.

“I will be brushing up on the issues specific to Wisconsin and Delavan,” she said.

One difference she mentioned is the Measures of Academic Progress testing the district uses to assess students is different from what she has used, but she has experience working with title programs and applying for grants. Sorbie said she is familiar with the new state laws, teacher assessment programs and increased emphasis on student assessments that have come to Wisconsin in the past several years.

More locally, Sorbie is aware that Delavan has a large pocket of tourism that helps the tax base but also a high percentage of agricultural and English as a Second Language students that provide a diverse student population. Sorbie said she has been very intrigued by the district’s dual language education program and she is excited to be working with its director, Ron Sandoval.

Sorbie said she also likes the center-schools model that is entering its second year. In this model, students in grades pre-k and kindergarten attend Wileman Elementary School, first through third grades attend Turtle Creek Elementary School, and fourth and fifth grades attend Darien Elementary School. Sorbie said the model allows teachers to collaborate much more effectively with all the teachers of a grade level at the same school.

“It is a great model for others to follow,” Sorbie said.

Sorbie said her greatest strengths that will help her take the district’s curriculum where it needs to go include good communication skills and working in partnership with others.

“You can’t make decisions in isolation,” Sorbie said.

Sorbie said she sees herself as a great team player, and she truly values the opinions of others. She is also a quick learner.

“I am excited to come up and learn and take in as much information as I can,” Sorbie said. “I am thrilled to join the team.”


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