Meet the Team
J. Scott Wunn
Executive Director, National Tournament Director
Assistant Executive Director, National Tournament Director of Operations
Assistant Executive Director, National Tournament Director of Operations
(see bio above)
Web Content Specialist
Graphic Designer and Publications Assistant
Video and Tech Support Specialist
Eli Woody joined the NSDA in 2020. He is an alum of the NSDA, competing at Topeka High School (KS) in many events, including Duo Interpretation, in which he was a national qualifier in 2007. Eli coached speech and debate for 11 years and—as a biracial man—proudly attended the Black/African American Coaches’ Caucus. He graduated from Washburn University with a B.A. in English Education in 2012 and from the University of Colorado Denver with an M.A. in Communication in 2020. He is now a doctoral student at Baylor University in the Education and Organizational Change program. At the NSDA, Eli provides customer support to members and is also passionate about sharing and discussing resources on antiracism and equity.
Competition and Events Oversight
J. Scott Wunn
Executive Director, National Tournament Director
(see bio above)
Manager of District and Tournament Services
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.
Tournament Services Coordinator
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.
Director of Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
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. As Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she develops and implements strategies to grow the NSDA as a model of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the speech and debate community.
Development and Finance Coordinator
Big Questions Grants Administrator
Marketing Communications Specialist
Business and Finance
Director of Business and Finance
Trophy Shop Manager
Business and Finance Assistant
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.
Director of Technology
Full Stack Developer
Paul Searcy joined the NSDA in 2019. From 2010-2018, Paul spent eight years in the National Guard where he gained valuable people and leadership skills obtaining a rank of SGT. He earned a BA in Computer Science from the University of Iowa. Prior to the NSDA, Paul has worked on a variety of projects and in technical roles ranging from general coding to system administration and software architecture. His current responsibilities entail assisting with all levels of software and network infrastructure maintenance, front-end and back-end optimizations, and network analysis.
Board of Directors
Pam Cady Wycoff
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.
Byron R. Arthur
Adam J. Jacobi
Jennifer M. Jerome
Renee C. Motter
Jay W. Rye III
The Montgomery Academy
Jay Rye became a member of the NSDA as a high school competitor in 1985. He continued his involvement in speech & debate for 4 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 Deep South District Committee since 1993, along with being District Chair from 1999 – 2017 & 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 & 2019 along with being a semifinalist for the National Disney Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001 & 2003. In 2007 he was named a Key Coach of the Barkley Forum at Emory University. Jay has coached over 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 3 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 Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2010, Jay was elected 1st 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.
Alan H. Coverstone
Alan 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
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 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.
Thomas M. Rollins
After graduation, he clerked for the Honorable James L. Oakes of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and then practiced law as a litigator in Houston with the firm of Susman Godfrey.
In 1985, he became Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, which enjoyed a broad jurisdiction over federal domestic policy, including federal education spending.
While at Harvard, pressed to prepare in a short time for his final examination in Evidence, he managed to obtain videotapes of 10 one-hour lectures by a noted authority on the subject, Professor Irving Younger. “No more boring subject has been crafted by the mind of man than the Federal Rules of Evidence. But I had no other way out,” Rollins says. Rollins planted himself in front of the TV and played all 10 hours nearly non-stop. The lectures, he says, “were outrageously insightful, funny, and thorough.” Watching Professor Younger’s lectures was one of Rollins’ best experiences as a student. It sparked his desire to build a company that would bring the best teachers in the country to anyone who wanted to learn from them.
Rollins left government service in 1989 to found The Teaching Company. The Teaching Company recruits the country’s best university, college, and high school teachers, records their lectures in audio and video, and sells these recordings to the public. The great majority of the nearly 6,000 hours of material sold by the Company cover the liberal arts and sciences; more than 10 million courses have been sold. The Company has been described by The New York Times as “a force in continuing education” and by The Wall Street Journal as “the colossus of its field.” Rollins served as CEO and Chairman of the Company until he sold most of his interest in 2006; he served as one of its Directors until 2011.
Rollins is married to law school classmate Victoria Radd Rollins. They live with their children Tom (2000) and Kay (2002) in Mclean, Virginia. Rollins coached Virginia State Champion debaters at The Potomac School, and supports debate programs at Georgetown University and through the National Urban Debate League. He received the National Speech & Debate Association’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He is also the 2012 recipient of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni Merrill Award for promotion of the liberal arts. He has set two Virginia state weightlifting records in the bench press, and won the competitive shotgunning “A Class” World Championship at the World English Sporting Clays tournament in 2011.
Robert W. Runcie
Upon joining BCPS in 2011, Mr. Runcie developed a strategic plan focusing on high-quality instruction, continuous improvement, and effective communication. As part of these goals, Mr. Runcie has spearheaded initiatives to maximize student learning. This includes creating a digital classrooms program to provide blended, personalized learning environments for students. BCPS became the first district to partner with the non-profit organization Code.org to increase computer science in schools. Computer science courses, curriculum, and activities are now offered at 100% of District schools. Mr. Runcie also has been instrumental in bringing debate to every school in the District. In addition, under his leadership, BCPS became a national model for ending zero tolerance policies for non-violent offenses in schools.
Mr. Runcie is president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and serves on the board of numerous organizations. His honors include: 2016 National Alliance of Black School Educators Superintendent of the Year, 2016 Florida Superintendent of the Year, 2015 ALAS Hispanic Serving Superintendent of the Year, 2014 Florida Virtual School Superintendent of the Year, 2014 Consortium of Florida Education Foundations Superintendent of the Year, Champion District Superintendent of the Year for Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, the Florida Department of Education’s District Data Leader of the Year Finalist, and a 2014 Leader to Learn From by Education Week.
Mr. Runcie previously held leadership positions with Chicago Public Schools and founded a management and technology consulting company.
Deep Run High School – Virginia
Kaashif Ahmed (’21) serves as a publication intern for Rostrum magazine. Through his writing, he hopes to expand his curiosity in the areas of medicine, social justice, public policy, and public speaking. Kaashif is a senior at Deep Run High School in Virginia. He has participated in Declamation, Informative Speaking, and Original Oratory.
Western Kentucky University – Kentucky
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.
Miramar High School – Florida
Kourtney Flowers (’21) is a senior from Miramar High School in Florida and currently serves as a graphic design intern for the NSDA. She has been involved in speech and debate since her first year of high school and currently serves as team president. Similar to speech and debate, graphic design gives Kourtney the freedom to express herself and allow her voice to be heard through her art.
North Broward Preparatory School – Florida
Karina Samuel (’22) serves as a publication intern for Rostrum magazine. Through her writing, she hopes to promote conversations surrounding diversity, inclusion, and inspiration. Karina is a junior at North Broward Preparatory School in Florida. She participates in Public Forum Debate.
Miramar High School – Florida
Nevoy Shepherd (’21) works alongside the Video & Tech Support Specialist using various software to enhance her skills in footage gathering, trimming and editing, and creating audio and visual effects for a final output. Nevoy is a senior at Miramar High School in South Florida. As a member of speech and debate, she competes in Dramatic Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, and Duo Interpretation.