• Mike Bietz
    Mike Bietz
    Director
    Mike Bietz
    Mike Bietz

    Director
    Mike Bietz has been the head debate coach at Harvard-Westlake since 2007. Previous to coaching at HW, he was the founder & Head Lincoln-Douglas debate coach at Edina High School (1999-2005) in Minnesota. While in college he was also an assistant debate coach at The Blake School and Hopkins High School. He also spent a year as the head policy debate coach at Apple Valley HS in MN. During his time at Edina and HW, his teams have been successful to an unprecedented degree. Mr. Bietz also has the distinction of being the only Lincoln-Douglas coach in history to have students win both the Tournament of Champions and NFL Nationals in the same season. He is one of only 3 coaches to ever coach two NFL National Champions and one of only 2 to do it at two different schools. In addition, he has coached 2 NFL Semifinalists, 2 TOC Semifinalists and 2 NDCA Semifinalists. Beyond success at post-season National Championships, his debaters have closed-out (taking both first and second place) or won most major national invitationals including: The Greenhill Fall Classic (close-out and win), The Greenhill Round Robin (close-out), The Voices Round Robin (close-out), The Glenbrooks (close-out twice), The Mid-America Cup (3 wins, a close-out), The Holiday Classic at the Blake School (2 wins, 2 close-outs) and The Silver & Black Invitational at Alta HS. He has also coached finalists in the MBA Round Robin, The New York Invitational at Bronx Science, and twice at Harvard University. While coaching in Minnesota, he coached back-to-back State Championships in Lincoln-Douglas, 2 finalists, a semifinalists and a policy State Championship. Aside from coaching success, Mr. Bietz is a trusted and longtime leader in the community. He has been a director of a summer debate institute at UCLA for 12 years. During this time over 5000 students have attended the institute. 10 NFL National Champions and 10 TOC Champions are alums of this program. He is a former President of the National Debate Coaches Association, a long-time member of the Tournament of Champions Advisory Committee, a winner of the Blake School Tournament Coach of the Year, The Bronx HS of Science Coaching Award and the Minnesota State High School League Debate Coach of the Year.
  • Greg Achten
    Greg Achten
    Flagship Director
    Greg Achten
    Greg Achten

    Flagship Director
    Greg Achten is a Co-Director of Debate at The Harker School. His students have won numerous tournaments in Lincoln-Douglas debate including the California Invitational at U.C. Berkeley and the National Debate Coaches Association National Championship. He has also had students receive top 5 speaker awards in both LD and policy at multiple national level tournaments. Prior to joining Harker, Greg was the Director of Debate at U.C. Berkeley where he coached a Copeland Award winning team as well as a National Championship team. Before Berkeley, Greg was the Director of Debate at Pepperdine University. Greg has over 25 years of summer debate institute experience including as founding director of the Cal National Debate Institute, director of the Georgetown Debate Seminar, director of the Arizona Debate Institute and has taught at many other summer workshops.
  • Jenny Achten
    Jenny Achten
    Faculty Development and Flagship Instructor
    Jenny Achten
    Jenny Achten

    Faculty Development and Flagship Instructor
    Jenny Achten is a Co-Director of Debate The Harker School in San Jose. She has coached multiple national debate champions, including a National Debate Coaches Association Champion and 5 Tournament of Champions winners. She is a member of the Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Georgia Debate Coaches Hall of Fame after several years as the head coach at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta. Previously, Jenny has coached at Pace Academy, Emory University and Arizona State University. Jenny has taught the top seniors lab at Georgetown University, Michigan State and the University of Michigan camps for the last several years. Previously, she worked at a number of other debate institutes, including the Arizona Debate Institute for college students.
  • Brian McBride
    Brian McBride
    Curriculum Co-Director and Flagship Instructor
    Brian McBride
    Brian McBride

    Curriculum Co-Director and Flagship Instructor
    Brian McBride is the Assistant Director of Debate and lead argument coach for the legendary USC debate team. Brian is one of the most accomplished and influential debate coaches of the 20 years. His success as a traditionally trained policy debater plus his involvement in the early evolution of critical argumentation in debate helped Brian be recognized as one of the most talented coaches. Brian’s debate career began at Westbury High School in Houston, Texas for a squad that was lucky to have five members competing at one time. In Brian’s senior year in high school he amassed a win-loss record of 117 wins and 11 losses, winning twelve tournaments. Brian went on to debate for the University of Texas were he received a first round at large bid to the National Debate Tournament three years in a row, winning multiple tournaments and many top five speaker awards. After graduating from the University of Texas he went on to coach Northwestern University to win three National Championships (NDT titles). Brian moved to the greater Los Angeles area and was the coach who brought an upstart group of debaters from the University of Redlands to the elite 8 (quarter-finals of the NDT) twice. Brian brought his unique expertise to the Trojans in 2006 and is the head argument coach for USC.
  • Joel Lemuel
    Joel Lemuel
    Debate Faculty
    Joel Lemuel
    Joel Lemuel

    Debate Faculty
    Dr. Joel Lemuel is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Director of Forensics at California State University, Northridge. His teaching challenges students to construct and appraise complex arguments, whether they explore human communication from a social scientific perspective on a humanistic point of view. Joel developed in interest in the field of communication after joining his high school debate team. He competed in policy debate programs throughout high school and college, and ultimately graduated with a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in communication studies from Georgia State University. He earned his doctorate in communication from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2016. Before joining CSUN, Dr. Lemuel spent two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pepperdine University where he taught courses in rhetorical theory and criticism, communication research methods, intercultural communication and environmental communication. Outside his academic career, Joel has been an active participant in several urban debate leagues across the nation. These leagues are part of a national movement to bring the benefits of advocacy training to traditionally underserved student and teacher populations. He has consulted with leagues in cities across the country including Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, and Nashville.
  • Sarah Roberts
    Sarah Roberts
    Debate Faculty
    Sarah Roberts
    Sarah Roberts

    Debate Faculty
    Sarah is the assistant head of debate at the Harker Middle School and graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Linguistics in spring 2020. As a competitor, she participated in policy debate independently from 2015-2017, and cleared at all national tournaments attended, qualifying to the TOC multiple times and reaching late elim rounds without institutional support. As a coach, she works primarily with the LD team and her students have received multiple bids to the TOC as well as consistently reaching late elims of national circuit tournaments. This will be Sarah’s fourth year teaching at debate camp and her third year at DebateLA; she is excited to return!
  • Vishan Chaudhary
    Vishan Chaudhary
    Debate Faculty
    Vishan Chaudhary

    Debate Faculty
    Vishan is an assistant coach at The Harker School and debated at Harvard-Westlake. He attended the TOC 3 times, championing the Cal Berkeley Invitational, NDCA, the Harvard-Westlake Round Robin, the Peninsula Invitational, and the USC Debate Tournament, as well as reaching late outrounds at Greenhill and the Glenbrooks. He attended DebateLA every summer as a student, and is excited to be returning for his second year as an instructor!
  • Shania Hunt
    Shania Hunt
     
    Shania Hunt
    Shania Hunt

    Debate Faculty
    Shania Hunt holds a B.A. in Political Science with a focus in International Relations from UCLA. She was an assistant coach at Harvard-Westlake from 2014 to 2018 and now is the head coach of Middle School Speech and Debate at the Harker School. Her students have won multiple national championship tournaments in numerous debate events. As a student, she was a member of Team USA Worlds Schools team and was primarily competitive in Lincoln Douglas debate where she won the Greenhill Invitational, Cal round robin, was a finalist at Berkeley, and finished in quarterfinals and as 4th speaker at TOC her senior year. She also placed in the top 40 of Domestic Extemp and Lincoln Douglas at NSDA Nationals. In college, she competed in British Parliamentary and attended the British Parliamentary national tournament. Now, she teaches and leads the Middle School Speech and Debate program at the Harker School in San Jose.
  • Liz Yount
    Liz Yount
    Debate Faculty
    Liz Yount
    Liz Yount

    Debate Faculty
    Liz Yount HW '17 is a rising senior and Presidential Scholar at The George Washington University, studying English and Classical & Near Eastern Studies. She is the former Captain of the Harvard-Westlake World Schools Debate Team and former member of the United States National Debate Team where she competed at tournaments in Croatia, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and Slovenia. Liz’s critical writing is also published in The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter. Currently, Liz is interning with a Senior Judge at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia while writing her English Honors Thesis.
  • Cameron Lange
    Cameron Lange
    Debate Faculty
    Cameron Lange
    Cameron Lange

    Debate Faculty
    Cameron Lange debated for Marlborough School in Los Angeles, competing in MSPDP for two years and in national-circuit Lincoln-Douglas for four years while also mentoring younger students. She served as captain of her team and reached five TOC bid rounds during her junior and senior years. She cares deeply about gender equity in debate. Cameron is enrolled at Stanford University where she intends to double major in Political Science and Philosophy.
  • Ari Davidson
    Ari Davidson
    Debate Faculty
    Ari Davidson
    Ari Davidson

    Debate Faculty
    Ari Davidson is a second-year college policy debater at Wake Forest University. In their first year of college debate, Ari reached elimination rounds at every major national tournament they attended, including placing 2nd at the Weber Round Robin. In their high school debate career at Harvard-Westlake, Ari reached deep elimination rounds at every major national they attended in both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate, including tournament wins at the Heart of Texas Invitational, Stanford Open, and the USC Invitational in their senior year. Ari is well-versed in both policy-based and critical literature, and they are very excited to return to Debate.LA to teach for their second year!
  • Rodrigo Paramo
    Rodrigo Paramo
    Debate Faculty
    Rodrigo Paramo
    Rodrigo Paramo

    Debate Faculty
    Rodrigo Paramo holds a B.A. in Literary Studies and is an assistant coach at the Greenhill School. His students have championed Grapevine, St. Mark's, Blake, Emory, and the TFA State Tournament, and have earned more than 50 bids to the Tournament of Champions. This will be Rodrigo's sixth year working at a summer debate institute, and his fourth teaching at Debate LA.
  • Scott Phillips
    Scott Phillips
    Debate Faculty
    Scott Phillips
    Scott Phillips

    Debate Faculty
    Scott Phillips is a debate coach at Harvard-Westlake and for Dartmouth College. He has previously coached at Pace Academy, Harker, and Meadows in high school and for Emory and the University of Michigan in college. In high school he debated at St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota, becoming the first debater from his school to clear at a varsity tournament and rising to be top speaker at the Tournament of Champions. In college he debated at Emory University and received a degree in psychology. Scott is the only coach in the country to have both won a national championship in high school and college, and also coach champions in high school and college policy as well as Lincoln Douglas. He runs the HSImpact debate blog and podcast.