Speech and Debate Coach/Mentor Information

About our speech and debate coaches/mentors:

Our philosophy behind our coaching is a little unique. We want to come along side you or your student, or even as you a parent or coach! This more than a tour guide, this becomes a relationship. Our goals, are your goals…

Are you wanting to take your speech to the next level? Are you looking to brain storm? Need help coming up with ideas? We can help guide you in picking your piece or provide feedback on your platform. We can help work choreography or characterization in your Interp… we can do it all! But most importantly, we do it with you!

Check out our awesome group of coaches that would love to help! Most coaching sessions last approximately an hour. Due to Heather Neumann’s high demand, her sessions are approximately 50 minutes.

Please take the time to read our coaches bios. When you contact us for coaching, we will help you find the right fit. However, here is a coaching guide at a glance…


– Heather Neumann, Aj Neumann, Ellen Neumann, Rikki Eskelund, Chiara Baldacci, Zach Davis, Luke Crory


– Heather Neumann, Kaitlyn Butts, Ellen Neumann, Rikki Eskelund, Chiara Baldacci, Isabelle Clausen, Abbey Kish, Annie Rogers

Limited Prep 

– Kaitlyn Butts, Abbey Kish, Chiara Baldacci, Steve Kish, Isabelle Clausen, Joel Erickson, Eric Meinerding, Annie Rogers, Michael Tant


Joel Erickson, Eric Meinerding, Michael Tant, Steve Kish, Noah McKay


Heather Neumann

Heather is the founder of Lasting Impact! She empowers her clients to find their inner voice through public speaking. Heather says, "There is a power your voice has, it has the ability to make a lasting impact, all you have to do is use it!" Although she just started Lasting Impact! two years ago, it has over 200 articles, all about public speaking. Most of her clients are high school students participating in competitive Speech and Debate. However, Heather is also speaker coach for a TedX and has taken on adult clients. She has been blessed to have coached thousands of students (even National Championship speakers) throughout the nation.

Kaitlyn Butts

Kaitlyn competed in the NCFCA for six years in all of the Limited Prep and Platform events. Highlights of her career included ten top-10 finishes at the National Championship, featuring a win in Apologetics in 2016 and Biographical Narrative in 2017. She was delighted to receive the title of 2017 National Sweepstakes Champion. Kaitlyn is pursuing a double major in Music and Philosophy at Grove City College. Along with continuing her passion for the art of communication through coaching, she enjoys her endeavors as a pianist, runner, and admissions office employee. Kaitlyn still takes every opportunity to grow her own communication and coaching skills and she hopes to become a professional public speaker. She loves to help students craft their platform speeches with beautiful rhetoric and polish their limited prep delivery through a range of persuasion techniques.

Rikki Eskelund

Rikki competed in NCFCA as a Speech and Debater for six years. During those years she pushed herself to try every single Speech Event, including TP! She was blessed to make it to Nationals every year she competed. She was honored to be a two time Regional Duo Champion, as well as the 2014 National Duo Champion with her brother, Seth. Currently, Rikki is pursuing a Degree in Communication. Ultimately she wants to become an Event Planner. Rikki prefers to coach Platforms and Interps. She believes she can help you with creative blocking to make those Interps pop!

AJ Neumann

AJ competed in Speech and Debate for five years, qualifying to The NCFCA National Championship each year. In 2016, he became the National Champion in two events- Original and Biblical!! AJ prefers to coach Platform and Interps, he wants to help you to create complexity, as well as characterization into your Speeches.

Ellen Neumann

Ellen competed in Competitive Speech and Debate for four years. She had the privilege of making it to The NCFCA National Championship each of those years. Her senior year, Ellen became The Sweepstakes Champion at every Regional Qualifier she went to, and went on to become the National Sweepstakes Champion. Each year she tried to stretch herself. She enjoys coaching LD, Platforms, and Interps and wants to help you stretch yourself

Joel Erickson

Joel is an NCFCA alumnus with six years of competitive forensics experience and four years of coaching. He currently studies philosophy at Wheaton College with the intent of pursuing graduate studies or law school (or both, if his parents will let him). As a coach, Joel can’t wait to immerse you in the big ideas of politics, philosophy, and economics. He's passionate about communication psychology and elegant organization, and wants everyone to understand that forensic competition is not about the accolades one achieves, but the person one becomes.

This past year, Joel advanced to finals at seven collegiate parliamentary tournaments, winning four of them. He has coached hundreds of students to accomplish their goals, from winning Nationals to breaking for the first time.

Steve Kish

Steve Kish has a decade of experience in competitive forensics ranging all forms of debate: Team Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Parliamentary Debate, British Parliamentary Debate, Moot Court, Mock Trial, and Public Forum. Presently, he is finishing his degree as well as running communications consulting firm. Suffice it to say, his career focus is professional and eloquent communication. In all of his years exposed to competitive communication, Steve likes to emphasize one critical thought: communication, no matter what its form, demonstrates the knowledge of the speaker. His goal, as a coach, is to help his students best communicate the knowledge they have in a succinct and eloquent manner. Steve hopes to help your student excel, not just in Debate, but in communication as a whole. Sign up to work with Steve for your Debate, Limited Prep, or Platform needs.

Chiara Baldacci

Chiara competed in the NCFCA for seven years and now attends Patrick Henry College with hopes of a future career in the field of psychology. During her time in the NCFCA, she competed in both TP and LD debate as well as a variety of speeches in the limited prep, interpretation, and platform categories. Her favorite category was apologetics and her most memorable experience was becoming National Champion in duo interpretation with her brother in 2015. As someone who was terrified to begin forensics, Chiara now loves helping people step outside of what they believe they’re capable of. She believes communication should come from the heart, and enjoys using discussion to help people discover what they mean—and how to communicate it.

Eric Meinerding

Eric is studying Policy and Law at Liberty University. He competed in the NCFCA for six years focusing mostly on limited preparation events and both styles of debate, qualifying to nationals in both TP and LD his senior year, along with speech events. Eric competed on Liberty’s Policy Debate Team for three semesters at both the junior varsity and varsity levels. Eric sees competitive forensics as way to develop one’s communication and argumentation skills to use in all facets life. Eric loves looking at debate from the perspective of a game, meaning he wants to help debaters process and execute the most strategic arguments and preparation methods for all styles of debate, along with effective rhetorical skills to present those arguments in debate rounds as well as forensics categories.

Michael Tant

Michael Tant has over a decade of Speech and Debate experience on the high school and the collegiate level in all forms. He is passionate about the activity, its benefits, and its importance for life.
As a competitor he was blessed with regular success in debate winning several national championships and garnering years of competitive experience and knowledge.
As a coach, he desires that students maximize their potential and compete excellently for the Glory of God, his job is to assist students on that journey.

Isabelle Clausen

My name is Isabelle Clausen, and I am an online speech and debate coach who desires to help competitors and working professionals improve their communication skills.

I competed in STOA, a national speech and debate league, for 3 years and loved my time in competitive forensics! I thoroughly enjoyed my time, Lincoln Douglas Debate, Mars Hill Impromptu, Original Oratory, Persuasive, and Duo Interpretation.

After putting in much hard work and time, I won many speech titles and was ranked top 10 in the nation overall for both speech and debate during my 2017 senior year.

Currently, I attend Grand Canyon University, planning to graduate in 2020 with a degree in Finance and Economics. As a college student, I understand the importance of learning how to communicate critically, rhetorically, and clearly in a college classroom.

However, these skills are incredibly valuable in all walks of life. I desire to help people of all ages better learn how to share their beliefs, values, and interests.

Noah McKay

Noah McKay competed in the NCFCA for two years, qualifying to nationals in various platform, limited prep, and debate events both years. In 2016, he won the title of Region IX LD debate champion and placed in the top ten nationally, and in 2017 he was national LD debate runner-up. He also competed in moot court during its pilot year and was the single most-awarded competitor in the league during the regular season, winning two national opens and taking Best Advocate at both. He is currently majoring in philosophy at Covenant College and coaching debate for Logos NC, a speech and debate club in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He enjoys hiking, good books, seafood, presenting papers at academic conferences, philosophically charged conversation, and living vicariously through his "debate kids.".

Abbey Kish

Abbey Kish was involved in competitive forensics for over 8 years. In her time as a competitor, she qualified to Nationals four times and gained two national titles. She was head coach of her local club for two years, and is founder of the new coaching service Lyceum Communications that works with business professionals to adopt classical rhetoric into their everyday communication.

Annie Rogers

Annie Rogers competed in speech and debate for seven years. In 2015, she earned the title of NCFCA National Impromptu Champion, her favorite category, and was in the top five debate teams in the nation for 2017. As a sophomore at Wheaton College in Illinois, Annie competes on Wheaton’s British Parliamentary debate team, and got 2nd place at the 2019 Pan Pacific Debate Championship. Annie has been coaching limited prep for three years, and loves watching her students tackle challenges and grow in skill and character.

Luke Crory

Luke Crory is an Actor working out of Boston and competed in NCFCA for six years. His Highest ranking at Nationals was 2nd place in Duo Interpretation in 2016 and 3rd in 2019. He specializes in Coaching Interps and also formatting/Cutting pieces. Luke can help you create and develop real characters that resonate with the Judges and audience. He is perfect for beginning students and can help brainstorm and play games to find different characters. Luke looks forward to meeting you 🙂