Colton Gilbert is a Debate Coach and Teacher at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. He has been involved in competitive speech and debate since 2004. In college, he competed at the University of Kentucky before transferring to Arkansas State University. In undergrad, Colton focused on Communication Studies with a minor in mathematics. In grad school, Colton received a Master’s in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University and a Master’s in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Since 2014, Colton has been Arkansas’s delegate at NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection; this summer (2022) he will serve as the chair of the wording committee. As a coach, Colton has coached debaters (both policy and LD) to out rounds at national tournaments and regularly qualifies students to the Tournament of Champions and NSDA. Colton prides himself on argument development and research practices. In his spare time, he enjoys video games on his Xbox and spending time with his beloved niece.
Tara L. McLellan, a NSDA Diamond Coach, is the co-head coach of Speech & Debate at Charlotte Latin School in North Carolina. In addition to coaching Lincoln-Douglas debate, she specializes in public speaking and individual events. Tara has previously coached at Decatur High School and Saint James School, her alma mater in Alabama. She served on the Lincoln-Douglas wording committee and the 2008 Birmingham Nationals committee. In 2006, she was awarded Alabama Forensics League Coach of the Year. Tara has instructed for LD and IE summer camps at Stanford, University of Iowa, and Samford University. Tara’s eight-year-old daughter, Neva, is a forensics “kid in training,” already demanding impromptu topics and cheering on the Latin team at competitions.
Christopher Vincent is the Director of Speech & Debate at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, LA. He has been involved in competitive speech & debate since 2004. Formerly, he was a competitor for the University of Louisville where he reached elimination rounds at several tournaments including both CEDA and the National Debate Tournament. He has also served as the Director of Forensics for Louisiana State University. As a high school coach, he has directed several programs and has coached students to elimination rounds at many regional and national tournament including Greenhill, Emory, Harvard, Berkeley, TFA, the Tournament of Champions, NSDA, and others. Chris is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Communication Studies Department at Louisiana State University, as well as a graduate minor in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, with a primary concentration in rhetoric and culture where he studies rhetorics of space from a queer and feminist perspective. As both a classroom teacher and communication professional, he emphasizes the importance of being adaptable, critically engaging with scholarship, being innovative in argument development, and learning the fundamentals.
Chase Williams is the 6-12 Director of Speech and Debate at Taipei American School and founder of The Institute for Speech and Debate. In his 13 years of coaching, Chase has coached students across all events to national success. In 2014, Chase was a member of the Hawken coaching staff that won two national championships (Congressional Debate and Public Forum Debate) and a national runner-up (Impromptu Speaking). His students have routinely placed in the Top-10 at nationals, advanced as far as Semifinals in PF at the TOC, and have championed or been in the final round at Yale, Minneapple, The Glenbrooks, Blake, The Sunvitational, Stanford, and Emory. At the 2016 NSDA National Tournament, Chase coached the national runners-up in World Schools Debate and his student placed 6th in the Senate, at the 2018 NSDA National Tournament, Chase’s student placed 9th in the House, and at the 2020 NSDA National Tournament, Chase’s students placed 4th in Policy Debate and Taipei American School was the first international school in the 95-year history of the NSDA to ever be recognized as a Debate School of Excellence (Top-20 in the nation). At the 2021 NSDA National Tournament, Chase’s students again won a Debate School of Excellence Award.
Before transitioning to education and coaching full-time, Chase was a political operative at the local, state, and federal campaign level. He has remained involved in the political arena as a volunteer and fundraiser.
To Chase, ISD is so much more than a summer camp, it is his extended family and he can’t wait to welcome more students into that family this summer!
Maggie Woodward coaches Original Oratory and Informative Speaking at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York, and has been involved in forensics as a competitor & a coach for 15 years. As a student, she was the Tennessee State Champion in Original Oratory, and a national finalist in 2008. During college, she competed for Western Kentucky University Forensics. She has taught or directed Oratory at multiple summer institutes, including WKU’s Summer Forensics Institute and the Florida Forensics Institute. Students she has coached have been finalists or champions at Wake Forest, Yale, Harvard, Emory, Bronx Science, TOC, and NSDA. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Mississippi and is pursuing her PhD at the University of Southern California. She is very excited to work with the students in ISD’s new Original Oratory program this summer!
Rachel West is super excited to be apart of the ISD difference! She has been coaching collegiate and highschool speech for 3 years. During her time at Western Kentucky University, she assisted in coaching Several Persuasive National Outround competitors, the top 3 National Finalists in After Dinner speaking for 2017, and the ADS National Runner Up in 2018. As the Assistant Director for Speech and Debate at Cypress Bay Highschool last year Rachel coached several Blue Key, Glenbrooks, Sunvite, Harvard, TOC, and NSDA Finalists and Champions. As Director at Cypress Bay this season, she hopes to continue helping students craft and refine their messages and can’t wait to do the same at ISD.
Brittany Stanchik is in her eighth year coaching Congressional Debate at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ and is the new Director of Forensics at DV. Over the course of her coaching career, she has coached numerous TOC qualifiers, including 7 finalists, 18 NSDA National Finalists, and 7 National Semifinalists. In 2014 alone, Brittany coached five students to the Final Round of Congressional Debate at NSDA Nationals.
Brittany understands the need to preserve the tradition and educational aspects of Congressional Debate but has learned the progression that naturally comes with the event; she teaches students how to adapt in a quickly changing environment by having them focus equally on three pillars: argumentation, presentation, and refutation.
During her personal career, Ms. Stanchik was in the 2009 NSDA National Congress Final and the 2010 NSDA National Quarter finals for Public Forum Debate. She graduated from Arizona State University where she majored in Communication and Justice Studies. She can’t wait to spend another summer with her ISD Family!
Yatesh Singh is the Co-head coach for Speech at Lakeville North High School in Minnesota. With more than a decade of coaching experience in various debate and speech events, his students have won or reached late elimination rounds of a variety of national tournaments including Blake, Bronx Science, the Extemp TOC, Glenbrooks, Harvard, MBA, NIETOC, & NSDA Nationals. He was the recipient of the 2017 Community Service award at the Extemp Tournament of Champions, and he credits his better half and fellow coach, Liz Vieira Singh, with continuously inspiring him to provide his students the most rewarding forensics experience possible. Yatesh is very excited to share the #ISDDifference with students this summer!
Jay Rye first became involved with Speech & Debate as a high school competitor in 1985, and has served as the Director of Speech & Debate at The Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Alabama, since 1991. As a competitor for and graduate of the University of Alabama, Jay was the recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award from Delta Sigma RhoTau Kappa Alpha, the collegiate honor society for speech education. As a five-diamond coach, he served as the District Chair of the Deep South District from 1999 – 2017 having received the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards for District Chair Service as well as being named District Chair of the Year in 2009. In 2007 he was elected a Key Coach of the Barkley Forum at Emory University in Georgia and in 2009 was the recipient of the Bronx Achievement Award by the Bronx High School of Science in New York. In 2013, Jay was the recipient of the Brother Polowy Coaching Award by Holy Cross in Louisiana and in 2014 was named the Jenny Cook Mentorship Award by the University School in Florida.
Jay has coached 142 individual state champions along with 134 National Speech & Debate Association qualifiers in all events, including the 2006 National Champion in Dramatic Interpretation. Jay served as the Chair of the Host Committee for the National Tournament of the National Speech & Debate Association in 2009, 2013, and 2017. He is an inducted member in the Alabama Speech & Debate Coaches Hall of Fame and the National Speech & Debate Coaches Hall of Fame. In 2014, Jay was elected to the Board of Directors for the NSDA and served in that capacity until his term concluded in June, 2018.