Board Bio Page

Sojin Chi, Executive Director

Preschool of the Arts is a place where many of my life’s passions converge: meaningful learning experiences for young children, the significance of the arts, and the community of people who work together to support these things.  It is truly a joyful and inspiring place to come to work everyday.

It is also a place where I can apply my seemingly non-related degrees in Business Administration and Early Childhood Education.  My focus of study in graduate school was in Curriculum and Instruction, with Art as my area of concentration and an endorsement in Special Education.  In my current position, I often refer back to lessons learned from varied prior experiences, including work as a research assistant at the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, as a preschool teacher in various early childhood settings, and as a lecturer teaching methods courses in higher education.  All these points in my journey have allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what makes for quality early childhood education.

My husband, Paul, and I moved to Madison in 2008 as family of two, and have since grown to become a family of four, including our children Daniel and Karis.  As a fellow parent, I love sharing the PSA experience with my children and will do my best to safeguard the mission of our school.

Paula Dinndorf, Curriculum & Faculty Coordinator

I have been a teacher at Preschool of the Arts for fifteen years and have recently accepted the position of Curriculum and Faculty Coordinator.  I am a firm believer in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, especially its emphasis on the strong image of the child, the importance and beauty of the environment, the integration of the arts, and the sense of community built upon the relationships between children, educators and families.

I have a bachelor’s degree in English and have done graduate work in Early Childhood and Family Education.  I am Wisconsin certified to teach PK-Gr. 3.  My family moved to Madison from Minnesota in 1996.  My husband, Bob, is the Executive Director of the Foundation at Madison College.  Our son, Neil, is a financial planner at SVA and his wife, Lisa, is a teacher at Jefferson Middle School (they are expecting their first child in December).  Our daughter, Andrea, is a 3rd-grade teacher at La Causa, a bilingual charter school in Milwaukee, and her fiancé, Roberto, is in graduate school at UW-Milwaukee (they are getting married in May).

I look forward to serving on the PSA board and to continuing to support this innovative and joyful learning environment.

Dan Ebert, Treasurer

I am currently the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and External Relations for WPPI Energy, and I am interested in helping PSA in a leadership capacity.  I have served as Chair of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin, and prior to being appointed PSC Chair, I was responsible for managing all budget, human resource, communications, government relations and strategic operations for this 140 person state agency.  I have also helped to create and have served as the executive director of the nation’s first internet trade association.  My background, as well as 20+ years of experience in public affairs, has given me the type of broad range skills (i.e. budget and finance, corporate communication, policy development) and relationships that I would link to help PSA meet the challenges ahead.

I am a Wisconsin native and grew up in Watertown.  I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in both Political Science and Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.   My daughter, Norah, is currently in the Copper Room.

Linda Eisele

In my personal and professional life I have always believed “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”   I am pleased to be a villager in the PSA Community.  Whether you are a parent, teacher, staff, or neighbor and retiree such as me, we all have a vested interest in the well-being of children–they truly are our future.  I live in the Hill Farms neighborhood and value the importance of having high quality early care and education programs available close to home for young families.

Spanning a career of 45 years, children have been my focus beginning as a University of Missouri Extension home economist and ending in January 2012 as a child care specialist with the City of Madison Community Development Division.  In retirement, I am working with the Wisconsin Afterschool Network to create a statewide professional development system for youth workers and all those who provide out-of-school time programs.

While older, Tim, my husband of 40 years, and I look to the future with our need to protect children and the environment.   We own land in Crawford County that we manage to benefit wildlife and increase biodiversity,and have established a five acre native plant prairie.  We have one son, Shawn who shares our concerns and is an attorney for Earthjustice, an environmental litigation firm in Juneau Alaska.

As a community representative to the PSA Board, I hope I can be a contributing member of the village.

Chad Gabert

I am a native Badger growing up in Fond du lac, Wisconsin.  After graduating from UW-Madison in 1991, I worked several years in the insurance industry before returning to law school.  Following law school, I spent ten years in private practice primarily representing school districts.  Presently, I’m in-house counsel with Optum a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary.

My spouse, Amy, and I relocated from Minneapolis to Middleton in 2011 largely to be closer to our families in southeast Wisconsin.  Our son, Colin, a recent copper room graduate, is a kindergartner at Northside Elementary.  Our daughter, Gianna, is a red room friend.

In my free time, I enjoy bicycling, traveling, helping with our children’s activities/sports, avidly following Packer football and UW athletics, eating the occasional Gritty Burger and watching the heated competition on “Chopped.”

Dave Johnson

My family has been a part of Preschool of the Art for the past three years.  Our oldest son, Cameron, graduated from the Gold Room this year and is moving on to Kindergarten, an event that we are both excited yet sad about, as it means he is growing up too quickly.  His little brother, Alex, is in the Orange room, so we have another two years of being a part of this wonderful program.  Both of our boys have benefitted greatly from PSA, as have Judy and I.  We have formed close relationships with our fellow parents and learned many important lessons along the way.

My professional background is in Information Technology.  Currently, I am performing project work for an Electronic Medical Records company. As a board member I am assisting PSA to analyze its computer infrastructure, with the goal to make the technology easier to use, more reliable, and give teachers and parents more pathways of communication.

Kristin Papoi

I am honored to serve on the PSA board.  Our daughter, Violet, started at PSA in 2011 in the Red Room and will be in the Purple Room this coming year.  We moved to Madison from Los Angeles in 2010 for my husband to pursue his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison. I followed in his footsteps a year later and am now also a doctoral student in the same department, with my research focusing on the impact of arts on literacy and literacy practices of immigrant children and their families.

In California, I taught 3rd – 5th grades in southeast Los Angeles before Violet was born, and also worked at the district level as an consultant on a curriculum development team.   Before teaching, I worked in marketing at an educational non-profit that utilized the arts to promote content learning.  Prior to my work in education, I was a marketing professional for 8 years in the for-profit sector for the Disney and Smith+Noble catalogs.  For fun, I like to read, knit, make stuff, and explore Wisconsin with Brian and Violet.

Marija Pientka

A native of suburban Detroit, I have lived in the Madison area since 1990.  My husband Jim and I have 4 kids: (Jack-14, Jessica- 11, Sophia – 3 1/2 and Alea – 2).  Sophia started in the Rainbow Room and is now in Snowflake Room. We look forward to Alea joining PSA next year.

I have 18 years professional experience in intercollegiate athletic administration, most recently serving as Associate Athletic Director at the UW-Madison.  My areas of focus have been in external relations, including development, ticketing and alumni outreach efforts.  Additionally, I have extensive experience with student welfare initiatives tied to academics, sports medicine and strength and conditioning.

My husband Jim is co-owner of Iconica, a Madison-based commercial design-build firm with a regional and national client base.

We both believe in the importance of being actively involved in both our childrens’ lives and in the community.  We both serve on numerous local and national boards, and enjoy coaching our kids in a variety of sports.  In my spare time, I enjoy cooking and reading.