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Meet the Team

Staff Members

Executive

J. Scott Wunn

J. Scott Wunn

Executive Director, National Tournament Director

About Scott
J. Scott Wunn has been the Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association since 2003. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Graceland University in 1993 and his Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Northern Iowa in 1999. He began his career with the Association as a forensic coach and classroom instructor in 1993. During his 10-year coaching career, Scott’s students experienced great success including several national finalists and the 2002 national championship in Humorous Interpretation. Scott is a two-diamond coach and a member of the Key Coach Society of the Barkley Forum for High Schools. During his current tenure as Executive Director, Scott is most proud of the advancements the National Speech & Debate Association has made in coach education programs, community related program development, and communication and cooperation among the leadership of the Association.
Amy Seidelman

Amy Seidelman

Assistant Executive Director, National Tournament Director of Operations

About Amy

Amy Seidelman joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2013. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Northern Iowa, where she received the Purple and Old Gold Award recognizing conspicuous achievement in forensics, and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. Amy’s professional experience, primarily in local government and health care, includes leading and managing project teams, directing and carrying out communications activities, and facilitating organizational improvement. At the national office, Amy leads internal operations and strategic planning, oversees customer service and membership recruitment, and guides efforts to define and improve processes, projects, and programs that achieve strategic goals.

Emily Bratton

Emily Bratton

Graphic Designer and Publications Assistant

About Emily
Emily Bratton joined the national office in 2010. She graduated from Ripon College where she double-majored in History and Studio Art, gained experience in business management, and dabbled in freelance illustration. Her responsibilities include design projects, marketing initiatives, research requests, and other inter-departmental projects.
Vicki Joss

Vicki Joss

Publications Manager

About Vicki

Vicki Joss earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Speech Communication and Studio Art from Ripon College in Wisconsin. In addition to being a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Lambda Pi Eta, she competed with the Ripon College speech team and later served as an assistant coach. Vicki has more than 15 years of experience with graphic design and marketing. At the National Speech & Debate Association, she works extensively with Rostrum magazine as Assistant Editor, oversees the production of the National Tournament Book, and helps maintain the organization’s web content. Outside of work, Vicki has been an active community member. She was on the Ripon Area United Way Board for three years, where she served as President in 2007-08, and as Past-President and Secretary in 2008-09. She also served as Vice Chair for the Ripon Public Library Board of Trustees and was a member of that board from 2006 to 2013. She was a member of the Ripon Rotary Club from 2009 to 2015.

Leela Ortiz

Leela Ortiz

Administrative Specialist

About Leela

Leela Ortiz graduated as an Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies. She has worked in the non-profit sector for more than a decade in roles including business administrator and program director. Leela has designed and implemented both community-based and mission-based programs for thousands of youth in the New York metropolitan area. She owns a business management consulting company and is a NSCAA Youth Level II certified soccer trainer. Hired in 2021, Leela brings her managerial, organizational, and interpersonal skills to her role at the NSDA.

Business and Finance

Laura Stein

Laura Stein

Director of Business and Finance

About Laura
Laura Stein joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2018. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the Ohio State University and her M.B.A. from Drake University. Laura’s professional experience includes more than 15 years working in finance with government and non-profit organizations, including time with the Department of Commerce, Iowa state government, and non-profits in Iowa and Ohio. Laura is a U.S. Navy veteran, serving four years active duty as an aviation structural mechanic in an F-14 Tomcat squadron. As Director of Business and Finance, Laura oversees financial management at the national office and leads development and implementation of the NSDA’s business strategies.
Lauren Erickson

Lauren Erickson

Business and Finance Associate

About Lauren

Lauren Erickson joined the National Speech & Debate Association in the fall of 2022. She attended Purdue University where she majored in Finance and Business Administration. Lauren has previous career experience in finance management, human resources, and high-level retail management. She primarily works to support day-to-day operations of the Finance Department with a focus on processing accounts receivable and accounts payable tasks including the processing of scholarship payment requests. Lauren also works closely with the Development Department to track and process all donations to the NSDA.

Stephanie VanderBruggen

Stephanie VanderBruggen

Accounting Specialist

About Stephanie
Stephanie VanderBruggen joined the National Speech & Debate Association in August 2016. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, she began her career in Accounting while managing retail and real estate offices. She then joined a non-profit specializing in the incubation of start-up technology and bio-tech companies as their Client Services Administrator for seven years. Now living in Iowa, she is excited to be a member of the finance department for an organization that so positively influences so many young people.
Lisa Vossekuil

Lisa Vossekuil

Business and Finance Assistant

About Lisa

Lisa Vossekuil has been a staff member of the National Speech & Debate Association since 2003. As Business and Finance Assistant, Lisa processes, ships, and provides customer service for sales merchandise, honor society insignia, membership materials, and recognition mailings, as well as manages the organization’s history digitization and the National Tournament Store.

Amanda Wagner

Amanda Wagner

Trophy Shop Assistant

About Amanda

Amanda Wagner joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2017. As a Trophy Shop Assistant, Amanda is responsible for producing, assembling, and shipping more than 6,000 awards for district tournaments along with producing and shipping service awards to member schools throughout the year. Amanda also has taken over many of the responsibilities with awards production for the annual National Tournament.

Becky Wagner

Becky Wagner

Trophy Shop Assistant

About Becky

Becky Wagner has been a staff member since 2015 working in the Trophy Shop assembling, packaging, and shipping awards not only for the NSDA but also for the many schools and universities that order awards for their tournaments across the country. Becky has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently, Becky serves as treasurer for the town of Princeton, Wisconsin. Previously, she was an EMT for 15 years with Princeton Ambulance Service and a supervisor for 28 years at Ripon Good Cookies. Most recently, she worked in IT for SSM Healthcare.

Chad Wagner

Chad Wagner

Trophy Shop Manager

About Chad
Chad Wagner joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2011 and brings more than 10 years of engraving and awards experience to the organization. He has been producing awards for the Association since 2007. Chad creates and designs all awards for the NSDA. Every year, he creates more than 2,200 awards for the National Speech & Debate Tournament alone! Chad also produces awards for numerous tournaments and organizations throughout the country.
Megan Wunn

Megan Wunn

Store Assistant

About Megan

Megan Wunn, a graduate of the American Institute of Business, began her work with the National Speech & Debate Association in 2004 as an assistant in membership services. As a Store Associate in the Finance Department, she designs and maintains an inventory system supporting year-round store sales to customers and annual event sales at the National Tournament. Megan maintains knowledge and expertise of store offerings, assists with the selection, packaging, and shipment of store orders, and aims to serve customers in a timely and responsive manner.”

Competition and Events

Lauren Burdt

Lauren Burdt

Director of Competition and Events

About Lauren

Lauren Burdt joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2016. She has been active in the Association as a competitor, judge, and coach. As Director of Competition and Events, Lauren oversees the evaluation and revision of competition rules and manuals, the district tournament series, and strategic direction of Tabroom.com and NSDA Campus. Lauren is also responsible for developing and managing the Big Questions and Springboard Series programs.

Kirsten Greene

Kirsten Ellermann

Competition and Events Coordinator

About Kirsten

Kirsten Ellermann joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2017. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Human Sciences from Iowa State University. After college, she pursued a career in drug and alcohol counseling, which helped her gain experience in communications, research, cultural diversity, and supervisory skills. Kirsten transitioned out of the mental health field and into the medical industry while working as an office administrator for a prosthetic and orthotic company. Kirsten’s responsibilities at the NSDA include event planning and logistics, customer service, and office management.

Kellie Etzel

Kellie Etzel

Online Speech and Debate Coordinator

About Kellie

Kellie Etzel joined the NSDA in 2021 after a lengthy career in higher education. A graduate of Columbia University, Duke University School of Law, and Eastern Michigan’s Higher Education, Leadership, and Counseling master’s program, Kellie has worked in alumni relations, academic support services, student development, and, most recently, real estate. She looks forward to putting her event planning, marketing, teaching, customer service, communication, and problem solving skills to good use for our students, members, and coaches.

Kevon Haughton

Kevon Haughton

Tournament Services Coordinator

About Kevon

Kevon Haughton joined the national office in 2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Public & Nonprofit Administration with a minor in African American Studies from Rutgers University. After immigrating to the United States, he found his passion for both speech and debate and has been involved in the community for over ten years. As a competitor, coach, and mentor Kevon worked for over five years building and strengthening debate programs in the city of Newark. In addition to his work within the debate community, a vast majority of Kevon’s professional experience has been spent managing civic engagement and voting rights programs throughout the United States. Similarly, he has worked with schools and nonprofits to build curriculums and develop and enhance their community outreach and relationships with outside organizations. As Tournament Services Coordinator, Kevon provides tournament support for coaches using NSDA services such as Tabroom.com and Campus.

Lauren McCool

Lauren McCool

Manager of District and Tournament Services

About Lauren

Lauren McCool joined the national office in 2017. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Master of Arts in Theatre History and Performance Studies from Bowling Green State University, and Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction for English Language Learners from the University of Nebraska – Kearney. As a teacher, Lauren taught theatre, public speaking, and debate courses. She also served as an interventionist for English Language Learners. As a coach, Lauren coached students to district, state, and national level titles in public speaking, interpretation, and debate. Her work for the NSDA centers upon supporting district leaders and facilitating the organization’s tournament services and judge training.

Chris Palmer

Chris Palmer

Developer

About Chris
Chris Palmer joined the National Speech & Debate Association as an independent contractor in 2014, bringing with him Tabroom.com, a free online tournament management site he created in 2000 and has maintained ever since. Tabroom has run more than 7,500 tournaments since its creation and continues to expand worldwide. He has also coached extensively in speech and debate, and his students have won many tournaments, including the 2012 TOC in LD and the 2008 National Speech & Debate Tournament in United States Extemp. He is a recipient of the Jenny Cook Mentorship award, the Lexington Michael Bacon coaching award, and the NDCA Outstanding Service Award. He is a member of the TOC Hall of Distinguished Service and the Barkley Forum Gold Key Society. His professional background includes roles in IT and technology management, in academia supporting engineering and computer science research, and in industry in the field of biotech and drug discovery. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Harvard University. At the NSDA, he works primarily to create new ways of assisting tournaments, coaching, and the Association as a whole with technology.

Development

Nicole Wanzer-Serrano

Nicole Wanzer-Serrano, CFRE

Director of Development

About Nicole

Nicole Wanzer-Serrano joined the national office in 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Dartmouth College. As a debate coach, Nicole has coached Policy Debate teams to the top four of nearly every major national high school tournament. As the Executive Director of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, Nicole tripled the number of schools and students that participate in Policy Debate in her first two years. Under her leadership, Dallas Urban Debate was also recognized as the 2012 Urban Debate League of the Year. For her work as the co-director of the Debate Institutes at Dartmouth, Nicole was awarded the Bronx Science Achievement Award for her contributions to the debate community. Nicole’s development work at the national office includes the planning and implementation of all philanthropic efforts of the National Speech & Debate Association. 

Tova Hettinger

Tova Hettinger

Grants and Advocacy Coordinator

About Tova

Tova Hettinger joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2019. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Master’s degree in Social Work. As the Grants and Advocacy Coordinator, Tova oversees the financial and record-keeping side of the organization’s grant making in relation to the Big Questions Debate series. Tova also supports grantees throughout the application and reporting process along with documenting and reporting on event results.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dr. Paul Porter

Dr. Paul Porter

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

About Paul

Dr. Paul Porter joined the national office in 2022. He holds a B.S. in Communication Studies from Ball State University, an M.A. in Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Eastern Michigan University, as well as a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Indiana State University. Paul has worked on the development of programs and initiatives designed to help create inclusive environments for diverse student populations, as well as diversity strategic plans and program assessments. Paul has presented on topics such as multicultural competence and unconscious bias across the state of Indiana and nationwide.

Paul’s involvement in speech and debate began at Ben Davis High School where he was a two-time NSDA national finalist in 1997. Paul was also a national finalist at the 2000 National Forensic Association tournament and has coached at both the high school and college levels. In 2017, Paul coached a national finalist in Original Oratory at Ben Davis and most recently served as an assistant coach at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Marketing and Advocacy

Angela McMillan

Angela McMillan

Director of Marketing and Advocacy

About Angela

Angela McMillan joined the national office in 2021. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in innovation, design, and society from Grand Valley State University. Angela is a NSDA alumna and former coach of 10 years. As the Director of Marketing and Advocacy at the NSDA, she focuses on developing marketing strategies to support and further the work across all departments and champions the power of speech and debate. Angela is passionate about serving community at the local, state, and national level. She is currently a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Small Staff Association Committee, on the board for Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center, on the core team for Kalamazoo Social Media, and a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is also a member of her local optimist club (BOCK), previously serving on their Board of Directors and currently serving on the Michigan District Optimists leadership team as their Communication, Marketing, and Technology Committee Chair. She is a TEDx speaker and a graduate of the 2018 ASAE NextGen Association Leadership Summit. When she is not serving, she is spreading joy with her optimistic outlook, her absurd tales of motherhood, and her impromptu dance parties.

Walker Desing

Walker Desing

Video Production Specialist

About Walker

Walker Desing joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2016. Walker earned a B.A. in Visual & Media Arts from Emerson College, where he gained experience producing video for film and TV. Walker brings his media production and technological experience to the Association, where he produces NSDA videos, oversees National Tournament video and livestream content, and manages the Association’s technological equipment.

Jessica Kincannon

Jessica Kincannon

Content Specialist

About Jessica

Jessica Kincannon joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2022. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Zoology and M.S. in Recreation & Tourism Management. Between earning her degrees, Jessica worked as an informal educator encouraging students to learn about and protect our natural world. As the Content Specialist, Jessica helps develop materials about our programs, events, and resources to keep members and alumni informed and excited about all things NSDA.

Alyssa Rivera

Alyssa Rivera

Marketing Communication Specialist

About Alyssa

Alyssa Rivera joined the NSDA in 2022. Alyssa received her BA in Drama and Theatre Studies from Ithaca College and continued her education with a focus on digital marketing at Georgetown University. Alyssa loves connecting with NSDA students, coaches, and teams and sharing in the mutual love of spoken word and performance via our social media channels. In addition to her work at the NSDA, Alyssa is a comedian and also teaches and performs improv at The Second City in Chicago.

Membership

Annie Reisener

Annie Reisener

Director of Membership

About Annie
Annie Reisener joined the national office in 2015. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been active in the Association for the past twelve years as a competitor, judge, and member of the national office staff. Annie oversees the organization’s strategic communications, manages the internship and fellowship programs, and leads efforts to actively support new and existing members as they develop, run, and participate in programs based on the guidance and regulations established by the Association.
Erik Altman

Erik Altman

Web Content Specialist

About Erik
Erik Altman joined the NSDA in 2019. From 1992-2002 Erik spent 10 years in the United States Army Reserves where he gained valuable people and leadership skills. He graduated from Des Moines Area Community College with an A.A. in Commercial Design in 2001. After graduation, Erik gained experience in web management and marketing with The Art Store in Des Moines. At the NSDA, Erik provides web content changes and updates.
Matt Bopes

Matt Bopes

Membership and Resources Coordinator

About Matt
Matt Bopes joined the NSDA in 2019. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in Political Science in 2013. After graduation, Matt gained management and organizing experience on various political campaigns and projects. Most recently, Matt worked in customer service for two years. At the NSDA, Matt provides customer support to members, manages membership data, and assists with resource development.
Eli Woody

Eli Woody

Membership and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator

About Eli

Eli Woody joined NSDA in January of 2021. He is a graduate of Washburn University (B.A., English Education) and the University of Colorado Denver (M.A., Communication). Before joining NSDA, Eli was a head coach of speech and debate and also taught college Public Speaking. He competed in the activity for all four years in high school, in Kansas, and is passionate about making speech and debate diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Technology

Aaron Hardy

Aaron Hardy

Director of Technology

About Aaron
Aaron Hardy joined the national office in 2015. He earned his B.A. from Michigan State University, where he had a successful Policy Debate career. After graduating, he coached debate for 10 years between Whitman College and Northwestern University. He helped coach winners of every major national college tournament, including the National Debate Tournament, as well as several Copeland Award winners. Aaron created Verbatim, the first widely used paperless debate software, and runs paperlessdebate.com. His team at Whitman was the first large college debate program to go completely paperless. For his contributions to improving debate with technological innovation, Aaron is the youngest ever recipient of the NDT’s Lucy Keele Lifetime Achievement Award.

Board of Directors

You may contact the Board of Directors at board@speechanddebate.org.

Elected Members

Pam Cady Wycoff

Pam Cady Wycoff

President

Apple Valley High School
Minnesota

pam.wycoff@speechanddebate.org

About Pam

Pam Cady Wycoff began her teaching and coaching career in 1979 at Mankato Loyola High School, Minnesota, a school of 200 students. She initiated a new chapter, started a Lincoln-Douglas Debate team, and coached a speech team where more than a quarter of the school population was on the team.  Over the course of 10 years, the students’ achievements led Loyola to hold the State Class A Records for the Highest Cumulative Total of State Medalists in all Contests; the Most Medals won by a School in Single Year; the Highest Cumulative Total of State Champions, and the Most Individual State Champions in a Single Year.  In 1989, Pam became the Director of Speech and Debate at Apple Valley High School, where she built a nationally recognized program.  In 2009, Pam was named the Apple Valley High School Teacher of the Year.  During her tenure as Director of Forensics, Pam coached more than 40 NSDA national finalists, including 18 runners-up and ten national champions. Pam was named NSDA Coach of the Year in 2009.  Twice Apple Valley High School has received the Bruno E. Jacob Award, first in 1998 and again in 2019.  Each time, Pam was awarded the Bruno Commendation for effectiveness as a speech educator.  While Director, the program was recognized with a Team Sweepstakes or Team of Excellence award in 24 different years. In addition to coaching, Pam enjoys “giving back” to the organization. She has been a presenter for instructional videos and has offered coaching workshops around the country. For over 30 years, Pam has served on the NSDA District Committee.  She has served on the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Topic Selection Committee and as a Board liaison to the Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, and Interpretation Committees. She also advocated for Informative Speaking as a national event. Pam was elected to the Board of Directors in 2005.  In 2012, she became Vice-President and held that office for six years. In 2018 she was elected Board President and continues to serve in that capacity. Pam is the second female in the organization’s 96-year history to serve as President.  For her consistent service, she received her Nineteenth Distinguished Service Plaque in 2020.  Pam was inducted into the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame in 2004 and the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2016, the NSDA named the event of Original Oratory after Joe and Pam Wycoff.  In 2017, Pam became a 7 Diamond Coach.

Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.

Vice President

About Tommie
Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr., retired this past June after 41 years of teaching and coaching the James Logan High School Forensics team in Union City, California. Tommie graduated from the University of San Francisco with a major in Communication Arts and Social Science. As a member of the Board, he endeavors to ensure that every student who desires to participate in speech and debate has an opportunity to compete, regardless of their circumstance. He challenged his students “to be the best that they can be,” a motto that carried over to his program and is reflected by James Logan High School’s unparalleled success as the first school in the history of the National Speech & Debate Association to have won a School of Excellence award for 19 consecutive years. Tommie is the co-author of the book, It Doesn’t Take a Genius, and was featured (along with his team) in the award winning documentary, Accidental Hero: Room 408. He has also been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show as part of her Angel Network. In 1994, Tommie was named California State Teacher of the Year; in 2004, he was inducted into the MacArthur Fellows Program, a grant given to individuals who show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work; and In 2007, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of San Francisco for his “Visionary Leadership.” Tommie is also a five-diamond coach, a Hall of Fame inductee for both the NSDA and California High School Speech Association, as well as a recipient of the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America award. Tommie was elected NSDA Board Vice President in 2018.
Byron R. Arthur

Byron R. Arthur

The Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men
Louisiana

byron.arthur@speechanddebate.org

About Byron
Byron Arthur is a two-diamond coach from The Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men in Louisiana. His years working as a corporate communications professional and as a practicing trial attorney lend a unique and important perspective to the Board of Directors. During his years of coaching at Jesuit High School and Holy Cross School in New Orleans, he has served the NSDA as a member of the Louisiana District Committee, the Lincoln-Douglas and Public Form Wording Committees, and the Ad-hoc Committee studying the future of Public Forum Debate. Byron has worked as an NSDA National Tournament official and gave the keynote address at the Summer Leadership Conference in 2016. In 2014, he was recognized with the very first Director’s Commendation and in 2016 was elected to the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame. As he begins this term on the Board, he has a particular interest in ensuring greater access and voice for urban and rural schools as well as developing programs and opportunities for recruiting and mentoring the next generation of coaches.
David Huston

David Huston

Colleyville Heritage High School
Texas

david.huston@speechanddebate.org

About David
David Huston is an Emory University/Barkley Forum Key Coach and a member of the Texas Forensic Association Hall of Fame. A four-time recipient of the National Speech & Debate Association’s Distinguished Service Award, he has served as a district chair in three different districts (West Iowa, Lone Star, and North Texas Longhorn Districts), the Policy Debate Tab Chair and the Director of Logistics at the National Tournament. Additionally, Dave has served as tabulation staff/director for several local, regional, and national tournaments including the Glenbrooks, University of Texas Austin, University of California Berkeley, Texas Forensic Association State Tournament, and the Tournament of Champions. He also served as president of both the IHSFL and FISO while still in Iowa. Dave has coached more than 35 qualifiers for the National Tournament, including the 1999 Lincoln-Douglas Debate national champion and the 2008 Policy Debate National Champion. He received the inaugural Ted Belch Coach Award in 2008. He is a four-diamond coach.
Adam J. Jacobi

Adam J. Jacobi

Wisconsin High School Forensic Association
Wisconsin

adam.jacobi@speechanddebate.org

About Adam
Adam J. Jacobi has worked in communication and theatre education since 1997. He is executive director of the nonprofit Wisconsin High School Forensic Association and coordinates Congressional Debate programming and curriculum for the nonprofit Harvard Debate Council. In 2018, he was elected to the NSDA Board of Directors and was appointed to the Speech, Debate, and Theatre Committee of the National Federation of State HS Associations (NFHS). Adam previously worked for the NSDA in membership and education programs; taught and coached speech at Ripon College; taught middle and high school debate in China for a semester; and taught theatre and speech communication as well as coached at his alma mater, Rufus King HS in Milwaukee, WI, for 11 years. Through his contributions to books, articles, professional development, academic presentations, and leadership of speech and debate organizations, he strives to make speech and debate accessible to coaches and students at all levels, as well as to root the activity in sound pedagogical practices. As a product of, and educator in diverse inner-city schools, Adam understands the importance of inclusivity and overcoming barriers in education. He and his husband, J. Scott Baker, Ph.D. are both three-diamond coaches, and have earned service plaques for their contributions to the activity and the NSDA.
Jennifer M. Jerome

Jennifer M. Jerome

Millard West High School
Nebraska

jennifer.jerome@speechanddebate.org

About Jennifer
Jennifer Jerome is currently coaching at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska. She has been coaching since 1989 and a member coach since 1996. She has served on the Nebraska District Committee since 2002, serving as chair multiple times. In 2010, she was the local director for the NCFL Grand National Tournament held in Omaha and has served at the Archdiocese of Omaha League Director since 2006. Jennifer was awarded the James Thurber Distinguished Teacher award by the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theater Association in 2010. She also sits on the Board of Directors for Guided by Kids, a non-profit in Omaha, that gets students involved with their community by teaching critical thinking skills through speech and debate. She was the NSDA Nebraska State Educator of the Year in 2018. She has been awarded the NSDA Nebraska District Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2018. Along with numerous state champions and state finalists, Jennifer has coached students to out rounds, including finals, at all levels of national competition. Jennifer is a four-diamond coach.
Renee C. Motter

Renee C. Motter

Air Academy High School
Colorado

renee.motter@speechanddebate.org

About Renee
Renee Motter has been working in education for more than 20 years and has been at Air Academy High School on base of the United States Air Force Academy for the past 19 years. In addition to teaching English and coordinating the Talented and Gifted program, she is the head Forensics, Speech and Debate coach. For the past 12 years, she has served as the district chair for the Colorado Grande District and was named the NSDA Chair of the Year in 2013. Putting her Master of Arts in Curriculum Development and Instruction to good use, Renee also serves as co-chair and writer for the NSDA Curriculum Committee and presents at local and state conferences for her district and Colorado High School Activities Association as well as national conferences for National Council for Teachers of English, Advanced Placement, and NSDA. In 2008, Renee was awarded Panera Bread’s “Rising Above” award, and in 2016, she was awarded the Sharon Wilch Lifetime Achievement Award by the Colorado speech community and the Colorado High School Activities Association. She was named the 2017 NSDA National Educator of the Year and was a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2018. Having seen the power of speech and debate, Renee hopes to encourage others to come together to find solutions to help more students access the benefits and learning afforded through speech and debate. Renee is a three-diamond coach.
Jay Rye

Jay W. Rye III

The Montgomery Academy
Alabama

jay.rye@speechanddebate.org

About Jay

Jay Rye became a member of the NSDA as a high school competitor in 1985. He continued his involvement in speech and debate for four years at the University of Alabama before becoming a high school coach at Montgomery Academy in 1991. Jay was named Coach of the Year in Alabama in 1993 and has continuously served on the Mockingbird District Committee since 1993, along with being district chair from 1999-2017 and from 2019-present. He was named District Chair of the Year in 2009 and was awarded the Pelham Commendation in 2019. He was the recipient of the McLemore Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1995 and 2019 along with being a semifinalist for the National Disney Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001 and 2003. In 2007, he was named a Key Coach of the Barkley Forum at Emory University. Jay has coached more than 150 students to 28 consecutive NSDA National Tournaments including finalists in Congress, Prose, and a national champion in Dramatic Interpretation in 2006. Jay was the chair of the National Host Committee for the NSDA three times in 2009, 2013, and 2017. In 2017, Jay was elected to both the Alabama Speech & Debate Coaches Hall of Fame and the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame. In 2010, Jay was elected first alternate to the NSDA Board of Directors and again in 2012, and was elected as a full member of the NSDA Board in 2014. During these years, he became chair of the Development Committee. After falling short of re-election in 2018, Jay was elected to the NSDA Board in 2020 and currently serves as the chair of the External Affairs Committee and a member of the Internal Affairs Committee.

Appointed Members

Dr. Alan H. Coverstone

Dr. Alan H. Coverstone

District of Columbia

About Alan

Dr. Alan H. Coverstone is a Senior Program Officer on the K-12 team at the Gates Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation he most recently served as the Chair of Education at Belmont University where he led the establishment of a teacher residency in partnership with the local Nashville school district. Prior to that, he served as the Executive Officer of Innovation at the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). There he led numerous innovations in charter school policy and practice, created the Innovation Zone, and led the expansion of autonomy and accountability for a growing number of schools and school leaders. He planned and directed Tennessee’s first conversion charter school at Cameron Middle School, and served as Project Director for implementation of the district’s $12 million Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. Alan previously served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), and also served on the Davidson County school board. Before serving MNPS, Alan was a teacher and debate coach at Montgomery Bell Academy for 14 years, also serving as the Academic Dean of the School. While at MBA, Alan coached several successful competitors, including the 2005 Policy Debate champion and runner-up teams.

Dr. Mike Edmonds

Dr. Mike Edmonds

About Mike

Mike Edmonds, Ph.D., is the acting Co-President at Colorado College, where he has served for nearly 30 years. Edmonds is also an Executive in Residence in the Economics and Business Department. Edmonds holds a Bachelor of Arts, Master’s, and Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi, where he was inducted as a Hall of Fame graduate in 1984, and inducted into their School of Education Hall of Fame in 2019. He completed a post-graduate institute at Harvard University, and is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership.

 

Edmonds was a member of the North Central Institution Action Committee of the Higher Learning Commission, where he served as a peer reviewer for accreditation visits. At Colorado College, he has been recognized with the Colorado College Center for Service and Learning Award; the Victor Nelson Cisneros Diversity Award, which was presented at the 2010 Colorado College Honors Convocation; and the 2011 Gresham Riley Award, which recognizes faculty and staff of the College who have made a significant difference to the Colorado College community through outstanding service, commitment and accomplishment.

 

Nationally, Edmonds is a member of the Leadership Institute for outreach and public policy at the University of Mississippi, as well as a Board of Trustee member at the School of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi. Regionally, Edmonds is a past chair of the Board of Trustees for Memorial Health System, past chair of United Way for the Pikes Peak Region and past member of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Board. He is the past chair and current member of the Board of Directors of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, president-elect of the Great West American Cancer Society Board of Directors, and member of the Board of Directors for USA Ultimate. He was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve on the Fourth District Judicial Commission of Colorado and served as chair of the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport Commission. Edmonds holds a professional membership in Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, and is a silver lifetime member of the NAACP.

 

Edmonds has been honored with the Educator of the Year Award from the Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region; the national St. George Award from the American Cancer Society; the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Forensic League; the MLK award from James Logan High school in Union City, CA; the Delores Taylor Arthur Award from Holy Cross High School in New Orleans; the Men of Achievement award from Delta Sigma Theta; and the Citizen of the Year Award from Omega Psi Phi. He was the recipient and awardee of the Uplift Community Foundation’s support in 2015. For his work in speech and forensics, he has been recognized with the National Speech and Debate Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2019, and was inducted into the Gold Key Society at Emory University.

Sara Gibson

Sara Gibson

About Sara

Sara Gibson is an alumna of the National Speech & Debate Association from Chesterton High School in Indiana. She also debated for the University of Notre Dame. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of 20° (20 degrees), a management consulting firm based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to unlocking new forms of revenue and capital for nonprofits and social enterprises, specializing in extending nonprofits’ income beyond philanthropy. Sara’s passion over her 20-year professional career is transformative, sustainable, and high-impact nonprofit work done in collaboration with diverse and complex communities.

Anoop Mishra

Anoop Mishra

About Anoop

Anoop Mishra is vice president and regional executive at the Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is responsible for the Atlanta Fed’s Regional Economic Information Network (REIN) for the state of Alabama, in which he collects and synthesizes economic intelligence from business and community leaders throughout the state to support monetary policymaking. Anoop oversees the Birmingham Branch’s board of directors, the District’s Agriculture Advisory Council, and leads the Atlanta Fed’s community and economic development outreach efforts in Alabama.

Before joining the Bank, Anoop owned a business consulting firm and was previously the chief executive officer of WorkforceQA, a national employment screening and compliance provider. He served as the chief operating officer for EDPM for 12 years prior to its acquisition by WorkforceQA. While there, he served on the Atlanta Fed’s Human Capital Advisory Council. Anoop also worked for Accenture in Atlanta in its Financial Services / Strategy practice.

Anoop debated at Homewood High School in Birmingham, Alabama, from 1985 to 1989 and was the national champion in Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 1988. He went on to receive a BA in political science from Birmingham-Southern College and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is active in the Birmingham community serving on the boards of the Alabama Economics Club, American Cancer Society, Opportunity Alabama, and Workshops, Inc. He is a member of Birmingham’s Downtown Kiwanis Club, an alumnus of Leadership Birmingham and member of Leadership Alabama. Anoop and his wife, Manisha, live in Homewood with their two children, Annikah and Adesh.

Holly Williams

Holly Williams

Administrative Representative
Arizona
holly.williams@speechanddebate.org

About Holly

Holly Williams is the Associate Superintendent for Mesa Public School in Mesa, Arizona. She began her career as a high school English teacher and Dean of Students in the Chandler Unified School District. Holly has been a part of Mesa Public Schools for 22 years and has served as an Assistant Principal and High School Principal before transitioning to a district-level position. As a district-level leader, Holly has been the Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, an Area Assistant Superintendent (East Area and High Schools), and the Chief of Staff. Holly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Arizona State University and a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University. Holly serves on the COPA Health Board of Directors and has previously served on the Arizona Adult Resources Board of Directors. Her oldest daughter competed in speech and debate at Mountain View high school, and Holly has served as a judge at local tournaments.

Interns

Elena Cecil

Elena Cecil

Western Kentucky University – Kentucky

About Elena

Elena Cecil (’18) works on developing educational resources for classrooms and practices that members of the NSDA can use to help grow and develop their teams. She is currently a junior at Western Kentucky University majoring in elementary education. Elena competed in speech and debate for nine years and now coaches the LaRue County Middle School speech team. She is also an assistant coach for the LaRue County High School speech team.

Juliette Reyes

Juliette Reyes

American Heritage School – Florida
About Juliette
Juliette Reyes (’20) is a proud NSDA alum. During her high school career at American Heritage School in Florida, she competed in Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Worlds Schools Debate, and Congressional Debate. Juliette loves working with others and helping them communicate their ideas and stories. As such, she is very excited to intern at the NSDA, assisting with marketing communications.