Check out our staff from 2019
2020 staff will be announced soon

The Summit Debate family is a huge reason for our success and why we have been a favorite choice since 1995. No matter what speech event you choose to specialize in, we have a staff that is experienced in high school speech and debate. Our senior staff members typically have at least a decade of experience. We also use recent graduates to keep us fresh with new ideas and approaches. We continually update this page, so we invite you back to see more confirmed hires for 2020!

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joele denis
interp curriculum director

Joele Denis is a speech coach at American Heritage School in Plantation, Florida. He specifically works to build their lower and middle school programs. This year, his students have reached final rounds at the Cypress Bay, Sunvite, and Harvard tournaments. Prior to coaching at American Heritage, Joele coached at Cypress Bay and Stuyvesant. In 2018, Joele coached the NSDA National Champion in Programmed Oral Interpretation. Joele competed for Western Kentucky University in ten different events reaching the National Final Round seven times. Joele helped coached the 2010 Collegiate National Champions in Drama and Poetry. This is Joele’s seventh year teaching with Summit Debate.

bob ickes
oratory curriculum director

Bob Ickes is one of the most sought after speech consultants in the country in high school speech competition. As a NSDA, NCFL, Harvard, and an Emory finalist himself, he knows exactly what it takes to be successful in Oratory and Advocacy events. He has been coaching speech and debate for more than 15 years. He has coached or helped coach the writing of original orations that have won Harvard, Yale, George Mason, Dowling Paradigm, SCU and many more. They have reached final rounds at Emory, Yale, Glenbrooks, Stanford, Berkeley, Villiger, Princeton, and Bronx. This is Bob’s sixteenth year working with Summit Debate.



daniel hodges
senior interp instructor

Daniel Hodges has been a speech coach for 10 years and is currently an Assistant Speech Coach at Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. Prior to Apple Valley, Daniel coached at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School in South Dakota where he competed in speech and debate as a student. While he has coached both interpretation and public address categories, his main focus is interpretation events. Between the NSDA, NCFL, and NIETOC National Tournaments, Daniel has coached 14 National Finalists, with 5 National Championships. Most recently he coached the 2017 NSDA and NCFL Duo National Champion, the 2018 NIETOC Duo National Champion, and the 2018 NSDA Duo National Runner-up. In addition, Daniel has coached over a dozen semi-finalists and quarter-finalist. He gives all credit to the talented and dedicated students he has been lucky to work with over the years. This will be Daniel’s first summer teaching with Summit Debate.

luke ostrander
Senior interp instructor

Luke Ostrander is the Director of Speech at Apple Valley High School in MN, and worked with students in Iowa and coached in Nebraska before moving to Minnesota in 2015. In his 10+ years in this activity, he’s coached 78 students to the NIETOC, NCFL, NSDA, and Middle School NSDA National Tournaments, with multiple octo, quarter, and semifinalists, as well as 13 National finalists. Mr. Ostrander has also coached numerous state finalists and champions in NE and MN in Extemp, Humor, Drama, Poetry, Prose, Informative and Oratory. In 2014, he was awarded the NSDA Nebraska District Speech Director of the Year award. With a background in theatre, he has a passion for bringing stories to life in fresh and genuine ways, especially ones that need to be told in our world today. This will be Luke’s second summer teaching with Summit Debate.

Andrea lopez
Junior interp instructor

Andrea Lopez is a sophomore at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida pursuing a BFA Acting Degree. She attended G. Holmes Braddock in Florida. During her career, she won the Princeton tournament and the Blue Key Tournament in Dramatic Interpretation. She also placed 3rd at the Tournament of Champions and reached elimination rounds at Emory University, Cypress Bay, Berkeley, the Sunvitational and the NSDA National Tournament. While in college, Andrea has been involved with writing, directing and acting in my comedy sketch group, Generation Comedy. She also acted in two short films and received a lead role in the play Columbinus, produced by Florida Players. This will be Andrea’s third summer teaching with Summit Debate.

Cory shay
Senior oratory instructor

Cory Shay is the head coach at Gwynedd Mercy Academy outside of Philadelphia. Most recently, Cory helped coached the 2018 NSDA Informative Speaking National Runner Up. Additionally, Cory has coached champions of prestigious invitational tournaments such as Harvard, George Mason, Yale, and Villiger. Under Cory’s tenure, Gwynedd has had over 75 qualifiers to NCFL Nationals including 14 students who finished in the Top 20 in the country at NCFL Nationals. She has qualified over 25 students to the NSDA National Finals, the Tournament of Champions (Kentucky), and the NIETOC National Finals, including a National Runner-Up (2nd Place) in Persuasive Speaking at the NIETOC Nationals. This will be Cory’s second summer teaching with Summit Debate.

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