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Sunday, May 1, 2016

School board chooses Tobin as fifth member

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bill Tobin
The Greencastle School Board will soon have a new resource in its efforts to interpret the mountains of ever-changing data a school corporation must process.

At Wednesday's meeting, the board appointed DePauw University Director of Institutional Research Bill Tobin as its fifth member.

He replaces Monica Fennell, who submitted her resignation from the board in January.

Tobin's position at DePauw involves the collection and interpretation of data about the institution. Through the process, his office provides support for policy formulation and decision making.

Although the school board presides over a different level of education, Tobin hopes he can bring some of his expertise and help the corporation.

"Mostly, (I can bring) an ability to frame questions," Tobin said. "In our line of work -- whether it's K-12 or higher education -- the questions are more important than the answers. Learning how to formulate questions and get at the heart of issues may be one of the key issues we're going to face -- and they have faced, I'm sure."

From those questions, making policy is the next step. Tobin said this process is roughly the same across levels of education.

"The differences may be in the details, but policy formulation has a real consistency," Tobin said.

Of course, the school board will provide different challenges. Tobin said part of his interest in the position springs from a genuine curiosity.

"I was approached about it, and of course that's very flattering," Tobin said. "But it was mostly two things. It was a real interest in what goes on in the schools. Part of it is looking at it as a black box -- you look at it and you think, 'what goes on in there?'

"The second part was having a vested interest in the schools as the parent of a student."

Tobin and his wife have a third grader in the Greencastle school system.

With his appointment, Tobin hopes to bring something useful to the board.

"If I have something they can use, great," Tobins said. "If I'm a resource, if I'm somebody they can tap into, more power to them."

Tobin was one of four applicants for the position, all four of whom were interviewed by the board on Monday, Jan. 30. The other applicants were Chris Weeks, Karen Martoglio and Matt Bumgardner.

The position is one of two appointed by the Greencastle City Council to four year terms.

Tobin's term will expire on June 30, 2014.

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