• 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
    Curriculum Director
    Jenny Achten
    Jenny Achten

    Curriculum Director
    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.
  • Quentin Clark
    Quentin Clark
    Debate Faculty
    Quentin Clark
    Quentin Clark

    Debate Faculty
    Quentin Clark did Lincoln-Douglas at the Harker school for four years, including appearances in elimination rounds at the NDCA, Presentation Round Robin, Damus, Greenhill, and CPS tournaments. They've coached for the Harker School for two years in between learning about computers and philosophy at Boston University. Their favorite things about debate are researching new arguments and thinking about strategy. They're excited to instruct at Debate LA!
  • Ari Davidson
    Ari Davidson
    Debate Faculty
    Ari Davidson
    Ari Davidson

    Debate Faculty
    Ari Davidson is a rising senior college policy debater at Wake Forest University. Over the course of their college career, Ari has received several speaker awards at major national tournaments, two first-round at-large bids to the NDT and reached elimination rounds at the NDT both times. 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 third year!
  • Nathan Fleming
    Nathan Fleming
    Debate Faculty
    Nathan Fleming
    Nathan Fleming

    Debate Faculty
    Nathan Fleming is currently a debate coach at the Harker School, as well as the University of Michigan. He has a background in Policy and Lincoln Douglas debate, and he competed on the national circuit in college at the University of California at Berkeley. He won the Copeland Award for the most successful regular-season performance for a college debate team, as well as earning two first round bids to the National Debate Tournament. He loves debate's competitive community and watching students learn to find their own voices through public speaking.
  • Nick Fleming
    Nick Fleming
    Debate Faculty
    Nick Fleming
    Nick Fleming

    Debate Faculty
    Nick Fleming is a rising junior and policy debater for the University of California, Berkeley. As a high school student, he received 7 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he finished in the quarterfinals. While fiercely dedicated to debate's competitive side, Nick has found a home in the community, and greatly values debate's ability to bring people together.
  • Sophia Gottfried
    Sophia Gottfried
    Debate Faculty
    Sophia Gottfried
    Sophia Gottfried

    Debate Faculty
    Sophia Gottfried debated Lincoln Douglas at Harker for four years, being a captain in her last two years. She currently attends Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Her love for debate sprung from her love for philosophy, which continues to be her specialization.
  • 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.
  • Dylan Liu
    Dylan Liu
    Debate Faculty
    Dylan Liu
    Dylan Liu

    Debate Faculty
    Dylan Liu was a national Lincoln-Douglas semifinalist his junior year, and a finalist his senior year. He competed in circuit LD for four years for Brentwood, with a little bit of experience in a few other events. He's currently at Emory studying humanities, and coaching for Geffen Academy at UCLA.
  • Melody Luo
    Melody Luo
    Debate Faculty
    Melody Luo
    Melody Luo

    Debate Faculty
    Melody Luo is an incoming freshman at Columbia University where she intends to major in Financial Economics and minor in Political Science. During her time as debate captain at the Harker School, she mentored students that received top 10 speaker awards and reached elimination rounds at TOC. As a competitor, she was a NSDA China representative at Nationals and was top seed in the international division.
  • 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.
  • Allyson Spurlock
    Allyson Spurlock
    Debate Faculty
    Allyson Spurlock
    Allyson Spurlock

    Debate Faculty
    Allyson Spurlock is a rising sophomore debater at Georgetown University. She debated for CK McClatchy high school, where she qualified to the Tournament of Champions in policy three times and was a 2020 Quarterfinalist. She is an assistant debate coach for the Harker School and values the opportunity to spread her love for the activity to others.
  • Aimee Wang
    Aimee Wang
    Debate Faculty
    Aimee Wang
    Aimee Wang

    Debate Faculty
    Aimee competed in Public Forum Debate on The Harker School’s speech and debate team for six years. As one of the captains on her team, she loves being able to help younger debaters through judging and coaching and is very excited to be at DebateLA this summer. She will be a freshman at MIT this fall, where she plans to study Computer Science and Cognitive Science.