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 through analysis of the past and discussions of the present. Students are asked to consider the interconnectedness between their lives, the lives of their communities, and the historical events we study. 

By exploring these connections, a student will develop both a strong sense of herself and her role in 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 world of work after college. More importantly, the history curriculum prepares students to be compassionate, interested, and effective citizens in the global community. 

Due to the unique nature of the Junior Co-Curriculum experience on Capitol Hill, starting with the 2019 – 2020 school year, all juniors will be required to take the U.S. History class which is integrated with the Capitol Hill program.  See course description below for more information.

Available Courses


Class of 2020 and Beyond

Noting the requirements of most colleges, the History Department recommends that students take at least three years of history.


Andrew Sharp

Director of Co-Curriculum, History Teacher

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Mr. 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.

Larry Pratt

History Teacher

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Larry Pratt returns as a full time teacher in the History Department after four years conducting nonprofit work in young voter turnout. Mr. Pratt began teaching history at Madeira in 2000.  During his four year absence, he continued to substitute for Madeira History teachers and assisted coaching the Varsity Basketball team.  

Matthew Sudnik

History Department Chair

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Matthew Sudnik joined the History Department in 2016. Previously Mr. Sudnik worked for nine years at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA, where he directed the scholars program and taught world history, human geography, and humanities. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America and a M.T.S. in Religious Studies from Harvard Divinity School. 

Shields Sundberg

History Teacher

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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. 

Sara Rhodin

History Teacher

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Sara Rhodin joined the History Department in 2018. Previously, Ms. Rhodin taught history for four years at George School in Newtown, Pennsylvania, where she also served as a faculty sponsor for Junior State of America, Model UN, student peer counseling, and the class of 2018. Prior to becoming a teacher, Sara worked at Open Society Foundations, Freedom House, and the State Department, and was an intern at the New York Times Moscow bureau in 2008. She holds a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Master’s in Russian Studies from Harvard.

Emily Michelson

History Teacher

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