Michelle Sobolak
Director of Teacher Education

Director of Teacher and Professional Education
Associate Professor of Practice

Department of Teaching, Learning and Leading

Dr. Michelle Sobolak, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Practice in the department of Teaching, Leading and Learning. Dr. Sobolak earned her Ph.D. in Reading Education from the University of PIttsburgh. She currently teaches courses in literacy instruction for candidates preparing to earn a PK-4 teaching certificate and directs and teaches literacy methods coursework in the Reading Specialist certification program. In addition, Dr. Sobolak is the Director of Teacher and Professional Education for the School of Education where she is tasked with coordination and improvement of teacher certification programs from PreK to 12th grade across content areas and is the division lead for the Undergraduate and Graduate Professional Training Division. . Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sobolak was an Assistant Professor in Professional Studies in Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also has 10 years of public school teaching experience as a first grade teacher, literacy coach and reading specialist.

Instructional Interests

  • Early literacy methods coursework
  • Reading Specialist preparation
  • Early Childhood Study Abroad graduate level coursework

Scholarly Interests

  • Innovative teacher preparation
  • Online and in-person simulations to enrich teacher preparation

Selected Grants

  • Kinloch, V. & Sobolak, M. J. (2020). Practicing and Preservice Teacher Mentors. Grable Foundation. ($87,500). Co-PI.

  • Jacobs, K. B., & Sobolak, M. J. (2019). Using Simulations to Support Teacher Candidate’s Developing Professional Practice. Central Research Development Fund (CRDF). ($3340).

  • Sobolak, M. & Conway, S. J. (2017) Implementing a Video Coaching Platform to Provide E-Mentoring during Clinical Experiences with Teacher Education Students. University of Pittsburgh Innovation in Education Awards. ($6,020). Project Director.

  • Conway, S.J. & Sobolak, M. (2016) The Racial Gap between Teachers and Students: Parents' Perspectives, University of Pittsburgh, Office of Diversity. ($1,500).

Featured Publications

  • Genest, M. T., Jacobs, K. B., Meyers, C. K., Sobolak, M. J., & Crawford, P. A. (2019). Page turners: Books for children. International Journal of the Whole Child, 4(2), 95-99.

  • Crawford, P. A., Sobolak, M.J., & Mattix Foster, A. A. (2017). Knowing and growing with mentor texts. Childhood Education, 93(1),82-86.

  • Wanless, S. B., Sobolak, M. J., Arlotta-Guerrero, A., & Crawford, P.A. (2014) Key strategies for supporting urban children’s development. CUE’d In, 1(1), 1-5.

  • Sobolak, M. J. & Mattix, A. A. (2012). The power of children’s literature as a literacy instruction tool. Focus on Elementary, 25(1).

  • Jalongo, M.R. & Sobolak, M. J. (2011). Supporting young children’s vocabulary growth: The challenges, the benefits, and evidence-based strategies. Early Childhood Education Journal, 38(6), 421-429.

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 - School of Education, Teaching Excellence

  • 2012 - University of Pittsburgh, CGSE, Extra Mile Teaching Award

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • President, Keystone State Literacy Association- Teacher Educators

  • Co-Editor, Children’s Literature, International Journal of the Whole Child

Michelle Sobolak


University of Pittsburgh
5929 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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