Professional Development

Professional Accreditation

The National Speech & Debate Association is proud to recognize outstanding members for their expertise in coaching and teaching speech and debate. Our Professional Accreditation Program recognizes coaches and educators who are committed to furthering their education and skills to better meet the needs of their students.

If you are a member of the National Speech & Debate Association and would like to become an accredited coach or educator, please submit an application form with $20 processing fee. The various requirements are outlined below.

Speech & Debate Educator Endorsement

Educators must meet the following criteria:

  • Active member of the National Speech & Debate Association
  • Work full-time in an educational environment (employment verification letter with administrator signature required)
  • Provide 20 hours of speech and/or debate instruction in a curricular, co-curricular, or extra-curricular setting (verification of instruction form required)
  • Attend two coaching webinars hosted by the Association (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
Professional Speech & Debate Educator

Educators must meet the following criteria:

  • Active member of the National Speech & Debate Association
  • Three years as a high school or middle level educator
  • At least ONE of the following:
    • 2,000 coaching points
    • One coach diamond
    • Seven years as a member coach
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Attend four webinars hosted by the Association (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead two webinars for the Association
    • Attend three coach clinics at the National Tournament (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead one coach clinic at the National Tournament
    • Submit three curricular items accepted by the Curriculum Committee
    • Attend the Online Institute for coaches OR one of our event institutes
    • Attend the NSDA National Education Conference
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Successful completion of four Continuing Education Units in speech, debate, or theatre related areas (proof of CEUs required)
    • Three graduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • Six undergraduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
Advanced Professional Speech & Debate Educator

Educators must meet the following criteria:

  • Active member of the National Speech & Debate Association
  • Accreditation as a Professional Speech & Debate Educator
  • Five years as a high school or middle level educator
  • At least ONE of the following:
    • 10,000 coaching points
    • Two coach diamonds
    • Ten years as a member coach
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Attend ten webinars hosted by the Association (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead five webinars for the Association
    • Attend six coach clinics at the National Tournament (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead three coach clinics at the National Tournament
    • Submit six curricular items accepted by the Curriculum Committee
    • Work as a lead instructor for the Online Institute
    • Serve as a presenter at the NSDA National Education Conference
    • Provide 15 hours of coaching mentorship to one or more fellow coaches in your community (verification log required)
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Successful completion of eight Continuing Education Units in speech, debate, or theatre related areas (proof of CEUs required)
    • Nine graduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • 15 undergraduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • Attend the NSDA Education Conference
Professional Speech & Debate Coach

Educators must meet the following criteria:

  • Active member of the National Speech & Debate Association
  • At least ONE of the following:
    • 3,000 coaching points
    • One coach diamond
    • Seven years as a member coach
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Recipient of Distinguished Service Award
    • Two years of service as a district leader
    • Attend two coach clinics at the National Tournament (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead one coach clinic at the National Tournament
    • Attend two webinars hosted by the Association (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Attend the NSDA National Education Conference
    • Provide 30 hours of coaching mentorship to one or more fellow coaches in your community (verification log required)
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Successful completion of eight Continuing Education Units in speech, debate, or theatre related areas (proof of CEUs required)
    • Three graduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • Six undergraduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
Advanced Professional Speech & Debate Coach

Educators must meet the following criteria:

  • Active member of the National Speech & Debate Association
  • Accreditation as Professional Speech & Debate Coach
  • At least ONE of the following:
    • 6,000 coaching points
    • Two coach diamonds
    • 15 years as a member coach
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Recipient of three Distinguished Service Awards
    • Five years of service as a district leader
    • Attend four coach clinics at the National Tournament (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead two coach clinic at the National Tournament
    • Attend eight webinars hosted by the Association (must complete the professional development reflection form to receive credit)
    • Lead three webinars for the National Speech & Debate Association
    • Serve as a presenter at the NSDA National Education Conference
    • Provide 50 hours of coaching mentorship to one or more fellow coaches in your community (verification log required)
  • At least TWO of the following:
    • Successful completion of 12 Continuing Education Units in speech, debate, or theatre related areas (proof of CEUs required)
    • Six graduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • 12 undergraduate credits in speech, debate, or theatre related courses (transcripts required)
    • Attend the NDCA Coaches Conference and provide certificate for verification

The NSDA’s accreditation certificates tell current and prospective employers that you have made a strong commitment to speech and debate coaching and education through both longevity and continuing academic education. They are an invaluable and tangible demonstration of achievement in a field that is difficult to quantify.

Janet Friedman-Pizzo

Coach

Accredited Coaches and Educators

Individuals must complete the Professional level of accreditation before earning Advanced Professional accreditation.

Professional Speech & Debate Educator

  • Jennifer Adams, Big Spring High School, TX
  • Clint Adams, Big Spring High School, TX
  • Linda Diane Alt, Canterbury High School, IN
  • Molly K. Beck, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, MO
  • Lisa Bompiani-Smith, Greater Latrobe High School, PA
  • Deanne Christensen, Oak Ridge High School, TX
  • Gavin Couvelha, Valley Center High School, KS
  • Michael Curry, Sprague High School, OR
  • Minnia Curtis, Carlsbad High School, CA
  • Tammy Daugherty, Munster High School, IN
  • Robert Dolan, Lake Mary Preparatory School, FL
  • Cody Duncan, Borger High School, TX
  • Harold Easton, Marianas High School, Saipan
  • Ross D. Eichele, Blaine High School, MN
  • Deon Garner, Warwick High School, VA
  • Lynne Gervais, Fernley High School, NV
  • Candy B. Gleason, Edward Little High School, ME
  • B.A. Gregg, Randolph Macon Academy, VA
  • Ellen Hawkes Howard, Bandon High School, OR
  • Kristine Lapierre, Vista Murietta High School, CA
  • Toni Martinet, Sioux Falls Lincoln High School, SD
  • Sharon McGraw, Horizon Science Academy, OH
  • Chris Miller, Lee’s Summit West High School, MO
  • Adam Nelson, The Harker School, CA
  • Reed Niemi, Delta Charter High School, CA
  • Ryan Ray, Grant County High School, KY
  • Shannon Rote, Copley High School, OH
  • LeAnne Schmidt, Notre Dame Preparatory, MI
  • Julie Schniers, Central High School – San Angelo, TX
  • Trey Smith, East Mountain High School, NM
  • Brad Swygard, American Christian School, OK
  • Kevin Tong, Alhambra High School, CA
  • Raphael Waldrop, Hattiesburg High School, MS
  • Joseph Wolter, Homestead High School, IN
  • Rodney Wren, Sr., Wichita Collegiate Upper School, KS
  • Mary Ann Yoskey-Berty, Trinity High School, PA

Professional Speech & Debate Coach

  • Molly Beck, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, MO
  • Tammy Daugherty, Munster High School, IN
  • Cody Duncan, Borger High School, TX
  • Harold Easton, Marianas High School, Saipan
  • Iain Lampert, iLEAD North Hollywood, CA
  • Sharon McGraw, Horizon Science Academy, OH
  • Reed Niemi, Delta Charter High School, CA
  • LeAnne Schmidt, Notre Dame Preparatory, MI
  • Laura Whitcombe, McCutcheon High School, IN

Advanced Professional Speech & Debate Educator

  • Matthew F. Brandstetter, Fairmont Preparatory Academy, CA
  • Deanne Christensen, Oak Ridge High School, TX
  • Don Crabtree, Park Hill High School, MO
  • Erik Dominguez, Desert Vista High School, AZ
  • Ross Eichele, Eagan High School, MN
  • Diane Forbes, Southlake Carroll High School, TX
  • David Gay, Alpharetta High School, GA
  • Holly Hathaway, Connersville High School, IN
  • William S. Hicks, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, IN
  • John Horner, Nixa High School, MO
  • Adam J. Jacobi, WI
  • Lyle R. Linerode, Gahanna Lincoln High School, OH
  • Melissa Reynolds, Bishop Miege High School, KS
  • Suzanne W. Terry, Morristown West High School, TN
  • Elaine Waite, Randolph High School, NJ
  • Laura Whitcombe, McCutcheon High School, IN
  • Jeri Connors Willard, Oak Park High School, MO
  • J. Scott Wunn, National Speech & Debate Association, IA
  • Derek Yuill, Gabrielino High School, CA

Advanced Professional Speech & Debate Coach

  • Wendi Brandenburg, Centennial High School, TX
  • Shawn Briscoe, South Anchorage High School, AK
  • Don Crabtree, Park Hill High School, MO
  • Erik Dominguez, Desert Vista High School, AZ
  • Ross Eichele, Eagan High School, MN
  • Diane Forbes, Southlake Carroll High School, TX
  • Janet Friedman-Pizzo, Butte Falls Charter School, OR
  • David Gay, Alpharetta High School, GA
  • Candy B. Gleason, Edward Little High School, ME
  • William S. Hicks, Brebeuf Jesuit Prep, IN
  • Adam J. Jacobi, WI
  • Lyle R. Linerode, Gahanna Lincoln High School, OH
  • Ryan Ray, Grant County High School, KY
  • Elaine Waite, Randolph High School, NJ
  • J. Scott Wunn, National Speech & Debate Association, IA
  • Mary Ann Yoskey-Berty, Trinity High School, PA
  • Derek Yuill, Gabrielino High School, CA

Speech & Debate Educator Endorsement

  • Molly K. Beck, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, MO
  • Ross Eichele, Eagan High School, MN
  • Jonathan Estey, Science Leadership Academy, PA
  • Krista Hulderman, West Fargo Sheyenne High School, ND
  • Kelsey Johnson, West Fargo Sheyenne High School, ND
  • Elizabeth Lamanna, Millennium Charter, CA
  • Janet Martin, Bowling Green High School, KY
  • Jennifer Raymond, Pattonville High School, MO
  • Marie Wetzel, Whitmer High School, OH
  • Jessica Wilkinson, Pascagoula High School, MS

Frequently Asked Questions

Why get accredited?

In an educational climate where school administrations and districts look for documentation of professional development and recognition for activity in the profession, as a respected and established high school speech and debate organization, the National Speech & Debate Association strives to meet that need through our Professional Accreditation program.

Does this duplicate other degrees I’ve already earned?

The accreditation program is designed to recognize several factors of qualification, including education, years of experience, and quantity of students served (thus the National Speech & Debate Association points requirement). Earning accreditation represents a culmination of those factors, rather than simply replicating a degree certificate (such as a Master’s) a coach has already achieved.

Who is eligible for professional accreditation?

Any Association member coach or educator who meets the requirements is eligible to apply.

Is there a cost associated with accreditation?

There is a $20 processing fee for each Professional Accreditation Application to cover the costs associated with the program.

Do I need to earn the Professional Accreditation before I earn the Advanced Professional Accreditation?

Yes. You must earn the Professional Accreditation before you are eligible to receive the Advanced Professional Accreditation.

Do I need to fill out a separate application for each accreditation?

Yes. You will be asked to select the appropriate accreditation level, upload supporting materials, and remit the $20 processing fee with each application.

What do I need to submit as proof for my accreditation?

As part of the online application, we ask you to upload a copy of your transcript(s) to verify you have completed the required number of classes and/or continuing education units (CEUs). If you have attended one of our webinars or coach clinics, you should complete our professional development reflection form to receive credit. If you have provided coaching or instructional mentorship to one or more fellow coaches in your area, please complete and upload our mentorship verification log.

How will you publicize my accreditation?

The National Speech & Debate Association will notify your Principal or Superintendent of your accreditation(s) with a letter signed by the Executive Director. Additionally, a list of accredited coaches and educators will appear in annually in Rostrum magazine and on our website.

How often are certificates sent out?

Accreditations are processed within seven business days of receiving your complete application with payment. (Please note, there may be a slight delay in May and June due to the National Tournament.)

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