The Madeira History Department is committed to supporting the mission of the School in the materials it uses, the skills it emphasizes, and the instructional techniques it uses. 

History classes will provide students with an understanding of the world in which we live as well as the world as we want to see it, which is to say we look backward, at our present, and ahead to a world we might imagine together. Students are asked to think like global citizens, reject stereotypes, and think deeply about the way our identities shape the world.   

The History Department seeks to develop the essential skills of research, data analysis, writing, oral presentation, and critical thinking that will prepare each Madeira graduate to continue her studies successfully at the college level and prepare her for the professional world. More importantly, the history curriculum prepares students to be compassionate, interested, and effective citizens in the global community. 

View the 2022-23 Course Catalog


Larry Pratt

History Teacher

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Larry Pratt began teaching the History Department in 2000. In 2012 he began a non-profit called Win the Future Young America. After four years conducting nonprofit work in young voter turnout, Mr. Pratt returned to teaching at Madeira. Mr. Pratt has also coached the Varsity Basketball team.  

Shields Sundberg

History Department Chair & Coordinator of Global Citizenship and International Education

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Ms. Shields Sundberg began her career in independent schools at Madeira in 1997, where she taught for seven years in the History Department. After a 15-year hiatus teaching in other independent schools, Shields returned joyfully, in 2018, to the classroom across from her old one in Schoolhouse I! Ms. Sundberg is a proponent of girls' education, feminist pedagogy, African Studies, and global social justice. She earned her BA in African American Studies and Political Science at University of Rochester (go Yellowjackets) and a Masters in African History at University of Chicago.  In addition to a teaching career devoted to global engagement, Shields serves as the Executive Director of a NGO devoted to global youth empowerment and plays an active role in a NGO devoted to rural northern Haiti. Additionally, Ms. Sundberg partners with schools in eastern Africa and the United States to develop African studies curriculum for students and adults. Beyond teaching, Shields enjoys learning about African art, opportunities to travel, listening to music, playing with her dogs (#woof), and being with her family. 

Emily Dowd


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Emily Dowd joined Madeira in 2018. She received a bachelor’s in History and German studies from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and her master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland. She is a former Fulbright Scholar who spent 3 years living and teaching in Munich and Mainz, Germany.

Emily Michelson

History Teacher

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Emily Michelson joined the History Department at Madeira in 2019 and also serves as a Rock Climbing Coach and Director of New Dorm. Prior to Madeira, she worked Fay School and St. Mark’s School, from which she is also an alumna. Ms. Michelson earned an undergraduate degree in International Relations and French from the University of St. Andrews.

Andrew Sharp

Director of Co-Curriculum, History Teacher, Sophomore Co-Curriculum Lead Teacher

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Andrew Sharp taught at Madeira from 1995 to 2000 and returned in 2004. He earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English from Connecticut College and a master's degree in International Politics from The George Washington University. Before becoming Director of Co-Curriculum, he served as head of the History Department, was assistant academic dean and taught history.

Rebecca Graham, Ph.D.

History Teacher

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Dr. Rebecca Graham has been teaching at Madeira since January 2020. She earned a PhD in History from American University and a BA in History (honors) and Philosophy (Phi Beta Kappa) from Mount Holyoke College. Madeira combines her passions for academics, women’s education, and a summer-camp-like environment.

Nacola Smith

History Teacher

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Ms. Smith comes to Madeira with over 20 years in education.  She earned a bachelor's degree in History from Florida A&M University and her M.Ed. from Cabrini University.  Ms. Smith has been involved in a wide array of academic, athletic, and leadership experiences and is currently teaching history and coaching volleyball at Madeira.  She has experience working with middle and upper school students, students with learning differences, and in both urban and suburban populations.  Regardless of with whom she works, Ms. Smith believes that success comes in three forms: collaboration, skill development, and learning by doing.  Ms. Smith's family motto is to Live, Life, Loving and her goal is to create that same desire in every student and person with whom she works.