Meet the Team
J. Scott Wunn
Executive Director, National Tournament Director
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.
Assistant Executive Director, National Tournament Director of Operations
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.
Assistant Executive Director, National Tournament Director of Operations
(see bio above)
Graphic Designer and Publications Assistant
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.
Video and Tech Support Specialist
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 shooting and editing video for film and TV. His film history includes working for Ghost House Pictures in Los Angeles, where he helped prepare several high-grossing movies and shows for production. Walker brings his media production and technological experience to the Association, where he edits videos and oversees tech troubleshooting.
Liberty Dunn brought more than 10 years of customer service experience to the NSDA when she started employment in 2016. As Operations Assistant, Liberty serves as a primary point of contact on office-related issues for employees and plays a customer service role for current and prospective members of the organization, responding thoroughly to questions and concerns on a variety of membership issues.
Deano Pape brings 25 years of experience competing, coaching, teaching, and administering special academic programs involving speech, debate, and communication skill development to the Association, whose staff team he joined in 2014. Deano attended Central College (bachelor of arts program, communication/theatre) and Central Missouri St. University (master of arts program, speech communication). Deano was the director of speech and debate at Ripon College and coached their nationally-recognized ethics bowl team. Deano also served as the director of Ripon’s communication across the curriculum program, collaborative learning center, first year studies program, and office of community engagement at various points in his career. Deano has traveled the country enhancing faculty development efforts at more than 25 colleges and universities through keynote presentations and workshop facilitation. Deano’s primary responsibilities include managing the organization’s customer service efforts, playing an active role in membership recruitment and outreach, and supporting the organization’s connection to collegiate speech and debate.
Karen McHale began her work with the National Speech & Debate Association in January 2009 as a calligrapher for student, coach, and school certificates. Today, Karen’s job responsibilities include assisting with membership reports, proofreading certificates, processing new student and coach degree seals, and distributing materials including new membership cards, invoices, and certificates. In addition, Karen oversees obtaining replacement certificates and processing Academic All American award applications.
Lisa Vossekuil has been a staff member of the National Speech & Debate Association since 2003. As a Membership Specialist, Lisa is responsible for the primary communication between the national office and its members, answering questions regarding the website, Points Application, and other general questions. She is also responsible for administering and processing district audits. Additionally, Lisa is the Pi Kappa Delta Office Manager, which involves processing memberships, sending invoices, overseeing merchandise, and other tasks as assigned by the PKD Council.
Annie Reisener joined the national office in 2015. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Northern Iowa. Annie is a National Speech & Debate Association alumna from Indianola High School in Iowa, where she was a State Champion in Public Forum Debate. Her responsibilities include working on research projects, managing the Association’s newsletters, planning logistics for various program offerings of the Association, and organizing coach and student recognition.
Director of Community Engagement, National Tournament Director of Competition
Steven Schappaugh joined the national office in 2014. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Drake University and a Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Administration and Management of Educational Programs. As a coach, Steve mentored students to multiple district and state titles in public speaking, interpretation, and debate. Many of Steve’s past students advanced to debate elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions (TOC), including a 2012 TOC championship in Public Forum Debate. At the National Speech & Debate Tournament, he’s coached an individual national champion, multiple semifinalists, and led his teams to two School of Excellence awards and an Overall School of Excellence award. Steve’s past experience as an Association alumnus, coach, district chair, and Board member assist him greatly in his understanding of coach and student resource needs.
Project Manager, Big Questions Debates
Lauren Burdt joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2016. She graduated from Creighton University with a degree in Biology and Environmental Science. She has been active in the Association for the past nine years as a competitor, judge, and coach. Lauren is responsible for developing and managing the Big Questions Debate series.
Grants Administrator, Big Questions Debates
Katie Hines joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2016. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University in Social Studies Education and a Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management. Katie is new to the debate world, but not a stranger to competition. Katie participated in swimming at the high school and college level. Her work for the Association focuses on developing the Big Questions Debates program and assisting schools and teachers applying for micro-grants.
Vicki Pape 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.
Trophy Shop Manager
Chad Wagner brings more than 10 years of engraving and awards experience to the National Speech & Debate Association. 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.
Director of Development
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 work at the national office includes the planning and implementation of all philanthropic efforts of the National Speech & Debate Association.
Emily Kriegel joined the national office in 2015 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. She received a degree in Communication Studies and Public Relations and is certified as a Nonprofit Professional. Her responsibilities include assisting in developing and implementing strategies for solicitations that will grow annual investment from individuals and businesses. She also manages print and online advertising.
Manager of Podius Debates
Sarah Mannheimer brings more than 15 years of event production and marketing experience to the National Speech & Debate Association. Sarah is originally from Central Iowa. She received her BA degree in English and Communications from Montclair State University in New Jersey, and began her career in New York followed by Princeton. As a lecture agent, she represented some of the most respected thought leaders in the world, managing the public speaking careers of best-selling authors, Pulitzer Prize winners, former elected officials, and industry leaders. As Manager of the Podius Debates, Sarah facilitates issue-based discourse at colleges and universities across the country.
Director of Finance, Office Manager of the National Office
Carol Zanto has been an integral member of the national office since 1970. During this time she has served in nearly every department. Carol is the Director of Finance and the Office Manager. She handles all financial statements for the National Speech & Debate Association and is responsible for payments and receivables, tax work, audits, and sponsorship transactions. She also oversees diamond awards, human resources and insurance, charter renewals, and processing of school payments. Beyond her individual responsibilities, Carol manages all financial and membership departments. In 1999, Carol was inducted into the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame for her service to the Association and its members. She received the Association’s Brother Gregory “Rene’” Sterner Lifetime Service Award in 2011.
Director of Business Management
Shannon Duus joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2016 to help lead the Finance department. Shannon earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and her Master’s of Business Administration in Organizational Development from Upper Iowa University. She began her career in education finance in Arizona, working her way through the ranks to become the Deputy Associate Superintendent Grants Manager for the Arizona Department of Education. Most recently, Shannon served as Executive Director of Business Services for Higley Unified School District in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.
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.
Nicole Zeoli moved from the Windy City to the Des Moines area, joining the National Speech & Debate Association in 2017. She studied Integrated Marketing Communications and received her B.A. from Roosevelt University. After college, Nikki began working in advertising for a print catalog company. Shortly after, she held an accounting position and worked her way up to Finance Project Controller with an international telecom company based in Chicago. There, she filled her resume with industry experiences to prepare for her career in Finance. In her current role at the NSDA, Nikki supports the accounts payable/receivables division and assists with processing sales bookkeeping and inventory.
Marketing and Advocacy
Director of Marketing and Advocacy
Mike Rieker (Bio coming soon!)
Sales and Merchandise Associate
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 the Sales and Merchandise Associate, 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, selects, packs, and ships orders, and aims to serve customers in a timely and responsive manner.
Shelby Young joined the National Speech & Debate Association in 2013. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Communication Studies, Shelby was a broadcast journalist before beginning her career in corporate marketing and communications. Shelby has spearheaded marketing campaigns, public relations efforts, and communication initiatives for regional and national non-profit organizations. Shelby is responsible for press and media relations as well as the organization’s recognition efforts and social media presence. As a former speech competitor, Shelby enjoys judging district and state competitions throughout central Iowa.
Director of Technical Solutions
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.
John Mathis joined the national office as an independent contractor in 2015. Prior to that, he worked primarily on projects for the National Speech & Debate Association while employed by The Joy of Tournaments. He has been a member of the National Tournament computer operations staff since 2011. John has more than 20 years of experience in development, database design, and technical support.
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.
Board of Directors
Park Hill High School
7701 NW Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64153
Don Crabtree is a National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame member and eight-diamond coach. He began coaching in 1971 and currently coaches at Park Hill High School in Missouri. During this time, he has established himself through service to the forensic community, earning a number of awards including 20 Distinguished Service plaques, the Ralph E. Carey Distinguished Career Service Award, the Missouri State High School Activities Association Award for Distinguished Service, and the National Federation Award for Career Service. Don has been named the Park Hill School District Teacher of the Year and the Missouri Speech Teacher of the Year. He served as host of the 1983, 1994, and 2010 National Tournaments. He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors.
Pam Cady Wycoff
Apple Valley High School
14450 Hayes Road, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Pam Cady Wycoff began her teaching and coaching career in 1980 at Mankato Loyola High School, Minnesota, a school of 200 students, where she initiated a new chapter, started a Lincoln-Douglas Debate team, and coached a speech team with more than 50 students. In 1990, she became the Director of Speech and Debate at Apple Valley High School where she built a nationally recognized program and continues to be a full-time classroom teacher. In 2009, Pam was named the Apple Valley High School Teacher of the Year. Under her direction, both Mankato Loyola and Apple Valley held the record for the most state champions earned by a single school. Pam has qualified students to the National Tournament every year since her career began, with dozens of speakers advancing to the final round, including the 1995, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2012 national champions in Original Oratory. In 1998, Apple Valley was awarded the Bruno E. Jacob Trophy. Pam has been a member of the District Committee since 1992 and was elected to the National Board of Directors in 2005. 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. Pam’s accolades include the Distinguished Service Key in 1989 and 11 Distinguished Service Plaques. 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. She was named the National Coach of the Year in 2009. Pam is a six-diamond coach and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors.
Colleyville Heritage High School
5401 Heritage Avenue, Colleyville, TX 76034
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 25 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 three-diamond coach.
Millard West High School
5710 S. 176th Avenue, Omaha, NE 68135
Jennifer Jerome is currently coaching at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been coaching for 25 years, 18 as a coach in the Association. She has served on the Nebraska District Committee for 13 years, two as chair. Jennifer has served in various tabulation capacities, most recently for the middle school speech events. She is also part of the team that tabulates the Nebraska School Activities Association State Tournament each year. In 2010, she was the local director for the NCFL Grand National Tournament held in Omaha. Jennifer was awarded the James Thurber Distinguished Teacher award by the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theater Association in 2010. 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 three-diamond coach.
Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr.
James Logan High School
1800 H Street, Union City, CA 94587
Dr. Tommie Lindsey, Jr., currently coaches a team of more than 150 students at James Logan High School in California. Tommie graduated from the University of San Francisco with a major in Communication Arts and Social Science. As a member of the Board, Tommie wants to make sure that every student who desires to participate in speech and debate has an opportunity to compete, regardless of their circumstance. He challenges his students “to be the best that they can be,” a motto that carries over to his program and is reflected by James Logan High School’s unparalleled success as the first school in the history of National Speech & Debate Association to have won a School of Excellence award for 15 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 2004, Tommie was inducted into the MacArthur Fellows Program, a grant given to individuals who show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work. 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.
Pamela K. McComas
PO Box 5078, Topeka, KS 66605
Pamela K. McComas has been associated with the National Speech & Debate Association since she was a student at Shawnee Heights High School in Kansas. Pam has served as first alternate and now as an at-large member of the Board of Directors. Pam’s role on the Board includes regular responsibilities of attending meetings, serving on committees, and listening to members’ needs and wants, as well as National Tournament responsibilities, which often include serving in a tab room. In fact, Pam has served in Supplemental tab, Lincoln-Douglas tab, Policy Debate tab, and Speech tab. Pam has coached five national champions and has coached students to the National Tournament every year since her career began, including five national champions. Pam is focusing on “bringing the National Speech & Debate Association into the 21st century in utilizing technology to its fullest,” connecting to outside professional organizations to heighten awareness of our mission and vision, and developing curriculum resources to meet the needs of professional educators. Pam is retired and is a seven-diamond coach.
Dr. Polly Reikowski
Eagan High School
4185 Braddock Trail, Eagan, MN 55123
Dr. Polly Reikowski began coaching speech and debate in 1973 at Rosemount High School. She opened Apple Valley High School as the Head Speech Coach in 1976, and began her career as an administrator in 1989 for Arts and Activities at Eagan High School. Polly has been honored as a member of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Hall of Fame Coach for Speech, Debate and One Act Plays. She has served on the MSHSL Board of Directors for 10 years, and has been the director of the State Speech Tournament for the past 16 years as well as tabulation staff for the State Debate Tournament. She has been a Principal at Eagan High School since 1989. Polly was honored to receive the National Speech & Debate Association Principal of the Year Award in June 2014. She is honored to serve as the administrative representative on the Board of Directors.
The Montgomery Academy
3240 Vaughn Road, Montgomery, AL 36106
Jay Rye first became involved with the National Speech & Debate Association as a high school competitor in 1985, and has served as the Director of Speech & Debate at The Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Alabama, since 1991. As a competitor for and graduate of the University of Alabama, Jay was the recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award from Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, the collegiate honor society for speech education. As a five-diamond coach, he was elected District Chair of the Deep South District in 1999 and has received the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards as well as being named District Chair of the Year in 2009. In 2007 he was elected a Key Coach of the Barkley Forum at Emory University in Georgia and in 2009 was the recipient of the Bronx Achievement Award by the Bronx High School of Science in New York. In 2013, Jay was the recipient of the Brother Polowy Coaching Award by Holy Cross in Louisiana and in 2014 was named the Jenny Cook Mentorship Award by the University School in Florida. Jay has coached 139 individual state champions along with 125 National Speech & Debate Association qualifiers in all events, including the 2006 National Champion in Dramatic Interpretation. Jay was the Chair of the Host Committee for the 2009 and 2013 National Tournaments and will Chair the Host Committee for the National Tournament in 2017.
Timothy E. Sheaff
Dowling Catholic High School
1400 Buffalo Road, West Des Moines, IA 50265
Timothy E. Sheaff is the speech and debate coach at Dowling Catholic High School in Iowa. He became a member of the Association in high school at Dowling Catholic under the great Dave Huston. He has coached for 25 years at four different schools. He and his amazing wife have six children.