Speech and Debate Coach/Mentor Information

About our speech and debate coaches:

Are you wanting to take your speech to the next level? Whether you are looking to brain storm, help coming up with ideas, picking your piece OR feedback on your platform, choreography or characterization in your Interp.. 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.

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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.

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.

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.
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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!
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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.
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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
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Joel Erickson

Joel has competed for five years in speech events, LD, parliamentary debate, and mock trial. He currently studies philosophy at Wheaton College with the intent to pursue graduate studies in philosophy or attend 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. Joel has coached hundreds of students in speech and debate through summer camps, private coaching, and local clubs, many of whom qualified to Nationals, won tournaments, or advanced to elimination rounds for the very first time. He is the founder of and head coach for Aspire Debate Camps and also coaches for Ethos Debate.

Gabrielle Heiss

Gabrielle has a passion for storytelling. Along with six years of competing in NCFCA, she has participated in multiple musicals, plays, and talent shows. Gabrielle believes communication is the most powerful weapon and wants to help you build confidence for when you use it. Her successes fall in the interp categories; especially behind the scenes in areas such as developing a plot, message, characters, and humor- all those started on paper at the first cut of the piece. Cutting a piece to 10min and making sure it’s not crazy-town is of the utmost importance! If a new perspective or creative burst is needed, Gabrielle may be able to help, with the ultimate goal of you falling in love with your speech.

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.

Luke McConnell

Luke McConnell competed in Speech and Debate for four years. During the course of those years, his life would take a unfortunate turn into the wrong direction only to be reoriented during his Senior year. To this day, Luke credits his faith and Speech and Debate as the two major displays of God's grace during his high school years. Nothing makes Luke more excited than young and talented individuals that have a message and a powerful empowering voice through which that message can be heard and received. Luke finished his senior year out ranked in the top five in both Apologetics and Original Oratory. To top off a lifechanging senior year, he finished in the top fifteen and twenty-five in Parliamentary and Lincoln Douglas debate respectively. Luke spent all last year working on a NALA paralegal certification program and getting involved in sales and marketing, working as a Sales Manager at one of the largest fitness companies in the United States. Luke is also the Co-Founder of a speech and debate company called Shockwave Communication, through which he hopes to, upon the company's launch, inspire and guide young passionate students to success in both debate and life. As of the Fall of 2018, Luke is pursuing his Business Marketing degree at the Master's University in Santa Clarita, California, which he intends to use to get involved in high-end real estate and corporate marketing after college. Luke is super excited to see what the Lord will have for him in these next coming years, and he can't wait to motivate students to pursue speech and debate with all their heart, soul, and mind.