MPCS High School Teacher Syndi Kyle was recently selected as one of 54 James Madison Fellows, representing each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the nation’s island and trust territories.
James Madison Fellowships support the graduate study of American history by aspiring and experienced secondary school teachers of American history, American government, and civics.Named in honor of the fourth president of the United States and acknowledged “Father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights,” a James Madison Fellowship funds up to $24,000 of each Fellow’s course of study towards a master’s degree. That program must include a concentration of courses on the history and principles of the United States Constitution.
Kyle teaches high school economics, AP microeconomics, and AP macroeconomics at MPCS, where she is also the freshman Student Government Association sponsor and faculty sponsor for the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.
The selection followed a lengthy and intensive application process, including detailed information about Kyle’s proposed degree program, a series of essays about teaching techniques and life experiences, and an extensive essay about teaching the Constitution. Three letters of application were also required. The entire application process took approximately three weeks to complete because Kyle juggled a full teaching load and helped to direct the MPCS high school spring production of The Little Mermaid at the time.
“Honestly, when the Fellowship binder came in the mail [for notification], I was completely shocked,” Kyle said. “I knew that there would likely be quite a few applicants from Georgia, so I applied and prayed about it, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting to be selected. Being selected is such an honor. It’s congressionally funded, and the committee is very specific about what they are looking for in educators; therefore, it was certainly affirming to be selected to a fairly exclusive group of educators.”
In addition to the honor of being selected, this is an amazing professional development opportunity. Kyle shares, “All Fellows are required to pursue degrees with a heavy focus on the US Constitution. I am an absolute Constitution nerd, so if I could start today – I would! I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Government with an American Government concentration from Regent University. As part of the Fellowship requirement, I am also required to attend a four-week Summer Institute at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The Institute provides 6 credit hours toward my Master’s degree.”
MPCS High School Teacher Amy Schwan was previously selected as the North Carolina Fellow in 1999 and recommended the Fellowship to Kyle.
About the James Madison Fellowships
Founded by an Act of Congress in 1986, the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation is an independent agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.
The James Madison Fellowships are funded by income from a trust fund in the Treasury of the United States and from additional private gifts, corporate contributions, and foundation grants. Recipients are required to teach American history, American government, or civics in a secondary school for at least one year for each year of fellowship support. The award is intended to recognize promising and distinguished teachers, to strengthen their knowledge of the origins and development of American constitutional government, and thus to expose the nation’s secondary school students to accurate knowledge of the nation’s constitutional heritage.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts recently mentioned the Foundation in the 2019 Year-end Report on the Federal Judiciary: “The federal courts cannot, of course, take on the challenge of civic education alone. They depend on generous partners to extend the outreach work.…we at the Supreme Court partner with student and teacher programs sponsored by the other branches of the federal government—including...the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation—in addition to offering our own undergraduate internship program”(p. 4).