Speech and Debate Coach/Mentor Information

About our speech and debate coaches:

HeatherHeather Neumann

Heather loves coaching Speech! She has had the honor of coaching many National Finalists, as well as National Champions. However it’s the journey that she enjoys the most. “To watch a student grow and discover themselves or their voice is such a blessing.” Heather enjoys coaching Platform and Interp Speeches. She has been blessed to coach novices, as well as National Champions.


Abbey Lovett

Abbey Lovett has been involved in competitive forensics for 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. Abbey works in the Washington, D.C. area at an economic research center, Mercatus, and uses communication everyday in her role as a Media Relations Associate.



rickiRikki 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.





ellenEllen 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.





rachel2Rachel Bechtel

Rachel has already graduated college with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Counseling, since she last competed in Speech and Debate in 2014. She competed for four years. Her favorite Speech Event was Apologetics. One of her highlights in her career was Marathoning (participating in 5 Speech categories) at Nationals in 2014. In addition to coaching Apol., she enjoys coaching Interps and Platforms. Rachel wants to help you create bold, meaningful characterization in interpretive speeches, while maintaining an encouraging attitude while being nit picky, especially in platform scripts.



JoelEricksonJoel Erickson

Joel participated in NCFCA for three years, and advanced to elimination rounds at the NCFCA National Championship in multiple speeches and debate. Right now, he is pursuing a Philosophy degree at Wheaton College and hopes to attend law school. Joel loves coaching Limited Prep Speeches, Platforms, and Lincoln-Douglas debate, and seeks to help you cultivate clarity, organization, and rhetoric for effective communication.



AndrewCullenAndrew Cullen

Up until the 8th grade, Andrew was terrified of public speaking. However, thanks to his mother forcing him to compete in debate, this formerly reluctant and introverted young man now eagerly jumps at the chance to speak in front of people. In fact, because of the years he spent debating and improving his communication skills, Andrew now hopes to one day be a pastor and impact many for Christ.

Throughout his five-year debate career, Andrew received numerous awards both at the regional and national level. During the 2010-2011 season, he and his partner, Kara Stivers, placed 1st at the Indiana tournament, 3rd at the Georgia National Open, and 6th at the National Championship in Boston, MA. In 2011-2012, Andrew partnered with Joshua Letwat and placed 1st at the Indiana tournament for the second straight year, 6th at the Illinois National Open, 5th at Regionals, and 9th at the National Championship in St. Paul, MN. For the 2012-2013 season, also his senior year, Andrew partnered with Joshua again and placed 9th at the Alabama National Open, 1st at Regionals, and 6th at the National Championship. Andrew also received many speaker awards, including 2nd at Regionals in 2012, 4th at the 2012 National Championship, 2nd at the 2013 Alabama National Open, 1st at the 2013 Ohio tournament, and 3rd at the 2013 National Championship.

Although he has definitely been blessed with success in the NCFCA, Andrew knows that the most important things that he has taken away from debate are professional communication and writing skills, a more mature and Christ-centered personal character, and encouraging friendships. Andrew now loves helping younger students learn about and excel in the activity that has changed his life. This goal and passion is what motivated Andrew to co-found Resolved Debate 5 years ago and motivates him now to continue to invest in the NCFCA.

Andrew graduated from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a major in Biblical Studies. This summer he will be completing a youth ministry internship at a church in South Carolina. Andrew enjoys playing numerous sports, such as (but not limited to) tennis, golf, soccer, and basketball, cooking extravagant meals, playing the piano, and exploring God’s beautiful creation.


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.



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, including a win in Apologetics in 2016 and Biographical Narrative in 2017. She was delighted to receive the title of 2017 National Sweepstakes Champion. Kaitlyn will be pursuing a double major in Piano Performance and Communications at Grove City College this fall. She hopes to continue speaking competitively and pursue her passion for the art of communication through coaching. She loves to help students craft their Platform speeches with beautiful rhetoric and polish their Limited Prep delivery through a range of persuasion techniques.


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.