East High School social studies teacher Justin Smith is the newest recipient a nationwide fellowship. The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation offers the $24,000 James Madison Graduate Fellowships to “individuals desiring to become outstanding teachers of the American Constitution at the secondary school level.” The award pays for tuition and supplies for a master’s degree in select areas of study.
“I feel truly honored to be given this opportunity, and am eager to start my new educational journey,” Smith said.
Smith has a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Grand View University, and completed the DMPS and Drake University BLUE contract master’s degree in Culturally Responsible Instructional Leadership. He started his DMPS career at Callanan Middle School about nine years ago before moving over to East to teach U.S. Government and Personal Economics. He’s also been a STEM club advisor, middle school debate coach, and has coached soccer, track, and cross country. Smith said he is retiring from the Army Reserve after 21 1/2 years of service as a Supply Sergeant for a Military Police Training Brigade and starting to think about what comes next.
“I wanted to take on a new challenge and expand my knowledge and skills,” Smith said.
East High School principal Jill Versteeg said the Fellowship will benefit Smith, but also East students for years to come.
“Mr. Smith is a tremendous teacher and supporter of our students,” said East principal Jill Versteeg. “He seeks out ways to improve his craft to not only for himself but his students and for collaborating with his peers.”
DMPS teachers have a more than decade-long history with the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation. Smith was nominated by Lincoln High’s Adam Arthur who was a 2016 recipient of a Fellowship. Arthur was nominated by his colleague, Jason Danielson, who was named a Madison Fellow in 2011 when he was teaching at Hoover High. Chris Kannapel, an East High School U.S History instructor, received the award in 2010.