CMS teacher earns fellowship


Carmel Middle School social studies teacher Mark Matthews earned one of 56 James Madison Memorial 2013 Fellowships to fund $24,000 of his master’s degree studies.  The fellowship supports select secondary school teachers of American history, American government and social studies.

Application for the fellowship required several recommendations, transcripts and completion of a series of essays.

“One of the more difficult requirements was getting as close to the word limit as possible without going over,” Matthews said.

Named after the fourth U.S. president James Madison, the grant promotes the graduate study of history and the United States Constitution.

“I (wrote) a great deal on the experiences I’ve gained in 29 years in the classroom,” Matthews said.  “Many questions asked me to focus specifically on how I teach the Constitution, what I feel is important for students to know about both the Constitution and American history, and how I use primary sources.”

Matthews engages students with class exercises such as “Socratic seminars and debates, mock trials, plus historical simulations of the Constitutional Convention, the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade, and the U.S. Civil War.”

His graduate studies are underway through Ashbrook Institute at Ashland University, Ohio. “Ashland has graduated more James Madison Fellows than any other university in the United States,” Matthews said.

The university’s annual dinner has featured renowned political figures such as George H.W. Bush, Lady Margaret Thatcher and Mitt Romney.

Recipients attend the foundation’s four-week summer institute on the American Constitution in Washington D.C.

“I have for a number of years led Carmel Middle School’s eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.,” Matthews said. “So it will be great to see many of the historic sites with colleagues and professors.”

Coursework occurs in Georgetown along the Potomac River waterfront.

“It will be exciting to study the Constitution and history in such close proximity to the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court,” he said.

Matthews is pleased to continue his studies with an institution focused on American history education.

“I have been privileged over the last several years to attend workshops and seminars with several of the professors,” he said.

The institute also maintains an invaluable resource for teaching American history at