Take the first step towards your championship with the best public speaking coaches in the business.
Our coaches are required to complete certification courses concerning student safety and mental health, protecting students from abuse, and communicating effectively with parents. We follow a rigorous onboarding process to ensure each class is meticulously crafted and engagingly taught by experts in their fields. If you think you belong in our ModernBrain family, reach out to us at [email protected] and we'll talk about your future with one of the most successful coaching companies in the country.
Coach Alana is a UCLA graduate, former Lincoln-Douglas debate captain, nationally ranked MUN debater and children’s theater director. She has also participated in Mock Trial, Comedy Sportz and numerous other speaking events. At UCLA she wrote for the award-winning student paper The Daily Bruin and interned at the podcasting company Crooked Media. Coach Alana teaches several classes including MUN, Media Literacy, Littles Speech, and speech and debate comprehensive, and hopes to make debate accessible and engaging for students of all ages and skill levels. She has also worked for podcasting startup Crooked Media, publisher of the popular podcast Pod Save America, and has worked in C-SPAN’s digital department in Washington, D.C.
Coach Alex knows firsthand how finding your voice can be life-changing, and embraces this philosophy in her work. As an advocate for adult literacy, mental health, and youth empowerment, Alex strives to build confidence, raise awareness, and promote equity through civic and community engagement. Alex has successfully competed in national and international Model United Nations tournaments in both the Ivy League and NMUN circuits. She led her team as president of Model United Nations at Victor Valley Community College in the High Desert to achieve a top ranking; for the first time in the program’s history, the team was recognized as the best delegation at the Ivy League Level. Alex has received seven Best Delegate awards at various competitions. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with honors from CSU San Bernardino and was selected by the County of San Bernardino for leadership development. She also presented at the High Desert’s first Mental Health Summit, where she addressed the need for mental health awareness and services. Alex founded a private tutoring program for students from grades K-12; she provided individualized lessons using neurodiversity learning techniques. These collective experiences are her strengths as a coach.
Coach Alex is an award winning Model United Nations coach and former Strategy Captain of his Robotics team. As Strategy Captain, he analyzed data and created tactics that helped lead his team to top finishes in international competitions. While a Model UN delegate, he and his team achieved the top level of awards at every national competition they attended. Alex took a leadership role on his team by assisting teammates with their research and writing for which they honored him with the Best Research award. Since then Alex has taught MUN to students of all ages, helping them learn how to research and diplomatically express themselves. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and continues to study International Relations and Political Philosophy.
Alissa Duong is ModernBrain’s director of curriculum and instruction.
Coach Alissa comes to us as a five-time national champion and seven-time state champion with experience in advancing to twenty-seven national out rounds. She was ranked the fourth-place speaker in the nation at the Phi Rho Pi National Speech and Debate tournament and was selected to be a member of the exclusive All-American Team by the American Forensics Association. Coach Alissa is a national finalist in Programmed Oral Interpretation, After Dinner Speaking, Prose Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, and Communication Analysis. The biggest crowd she has spoken in front of? Eight thousand people and thirteen service animals.
Coach Alissa serves as a professor of communication studies and teaches public speaking, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, and argumentation. She also works with the college Vice Presidents to help write and review curriculum for the institution. In addition to this, she coaches speech and debate at the collegiate level. This past year, she helped the team win both the California State Championship and the National Championship. Her college team currently holds the title of most national championships won in history.
Coach Alissa was an ESL student and understands the importance of confident and clear communication. Her teaching goal is to help empower as many students as possible to be the best versions of themselves.
Coach Ari is an award-winning collegiate Mock Trial competitor, an executive board member of Claremont McKenna's nationally renowned Model United Nations team, and a coach of several state, national, and Tournament of Champions finalists at the middle and high school levels.
In his high school career, Ari was one of the most successful Speech and Debate competitors in history. He earned a record-setting 50+ championships in two years in Impromptu, Declamation, SPAR, Extemporaneous, DUO, POI, Storytelling, Extemporaneous, Original Prose & Poetry, Humorous, Congress, and Parliamentary Debate. Notably, he was the 2017 NSDA National Champion in Expository Speaking and the 2018 NSDA National Runner-Up in POI.
Coach Bella is a Loyola Marymount University graduate who studied Political Science and Journalism. During her academic career, she has participated in many Model United Nations conferences, including the national championship, where Bella received a Best Delegate award. Throughout college, Bella continued her passion for public speaking, holding leadership roles in Phi Alpha Delta, LMU’s pre-law fraternity, and PESA Lions, LMU’s magnet club of a non-profit organization that supports diverted youth where she interned. Additionally, she was very involved in the Political Science department, notably, she was a Teacher’s Assistant for the congressional politics course, where students simulated congress for the entire semester. With an extensive background teaching K-12, Bella is excited to share her skills and help students become comfortable with their own voice.
Coach Cecilia (Cece) is a current transfer undergraduate at Western Kentucky University, the winningest collegiate speech and debate program in history. Attending her first national tournament with the team, Pi Kappa Delta, she emerged as a runner-up in Informative and DUO, a semifinalist in Prose, and a national champion in Poetry.
Most notably during her high school career at Westmoore High School in Oklahoma, she became the first person in NSDA history to ever final at the National Tournament in three different events -- back to back to back. She finaled in Dramatic Interp her sophomore year, POI her junior year, and Humorous her senior year. Additionally, she finaled at the NIETOC in Dramatic and Humorous, is a 5-time state champion, and has multiple other finalist and championship titles at recognized tournaments across the nation during her high school career.
Centered around creativity and messages, Cecilia coaches in skill-sets for the long term, while homing in on the small details that make a performer stand out. She believes everyone has a compelling story to tell, and as a coach, it is her mission to bring those convictions to light.
Outside of coaching and competing for her college, she frequently cooks Kenyan foods with her mother, takes landscape pictures, and tries niche restaurants.
Involved in speech and debate in the Dallas area for over four decades, Chris Agee recently retired from Newman Smith High School after 27 years of service to the community. He is a double diamond coach in the National Speech and Debate Association and was inducted into the Texas Forensic Association's Hall of Fame in 2015. A former policy debater for the University of North Texas, Coach Agee qualified for the NDT 3 times during his college career. Since then, he has experienced success in numerous formats and organizations, coaching students to local, state, and national success. Coach Agee is experienced in coaching multiple speech and debate events. In addition to private tutoring for middle-school students, he also provides coaching support to several schools in the metroplex, including Coppell High School and the Greenhill School. "Speech and Debate was a life-changing experience for me beginning at a young age. I was fortunate enough to build a career out of doing what I love the most--sharing these skills with others," he says. Adept at simplifying difficult concepts for younger debaters, Coach Agee is still actively engaged in the speech and debate community and looks forward to offering his unique set of skills to serve a new generation of competitors!
Coach Cody is an aspiring filmmaker, born and raised in Woodland Hills, California who really loves words! In high school, Cody was ranked 2nd (and named the final round champion) in the state of California in Original Prose and Poetry and was a national quarterfinalist in Original Oratory. Cody went on to win an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) National Championship in Persuasive Speaking; he was also the National Runner-Up in Slam Poetry and a National Finalist in both After Dinner Speaking and Informative Speaking. Cody also enjoyed national recognition in Mock Trial, where was recognized as the #1 witness in the United States of America (a double-sided, top-ranked All-American) during his senior year. Cody attended the illustrious Howard University, where he obtained his BA in Film and Television. While at Howard, Cody served on the HU Speech and Debate and Mock Trial teams, as well as a member of the Howard Players. Cody has a deep love of both forensics and public speaking in general and is happy to help a new generation of fiery, passionate storytellers.
Coach Dylan is a current American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) competitor at UC Irvine. In 2021, when he joined the school’s mock trial program, he made the fastest jump to the senior A Team in the program’s modern history. During his tenure on the team, UCI's placement rose from 23rd to 8th in the nation. At the 2023 Opening Regional Championships, he was recognized as the best witness on the West Coast. He currently serves on the Executive Board of UC Irvine Mock Trial and is a member of Improv Revolution.
In middle and high school, Dylan acted professionally, appearing in a number of short films, web series, and television shows, most notably Criminal Minds. In 2019, he received a nomination for Best Actor at the Broadway San Diego Awards and was recognized as a student demonstrating excellence in theater by the San Diego Unified School District.
A pre-law history major and drama minor, Coach Dylan is excited to provide students with the Mock Trial and public speaking skills necessary to achieve their goals.
Coach Elizabeth is a 2020 Public Relations graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a 10-year veteran of Speech & Debate. During her time competing, she was a multiple time semi-finalist and finalist at the state and national level. Elizabeth was also a captain of the University of Texas at Austin's speech team her junior and senior year. Her expertise spans Duo, Poetry, Prose, After Dinner Speaking, and Dramatic Interpretation.
She is currently a Writer’s Assistant at the Jennifer Hudson Show and an actor in a web series. Elizabeth is also a writer and singer/songwriter. Performance is one of her passions, which is why she enjoys coaching younger people in the same discipline. She hopes that they can get what she receives from performing - catharsis, confidence, and most importantly, joy!
Coach Elyse is a Northwood High School graduate and a current student at Chapman University studying Psychology and Sociology. She has a strong background in theatre from her five years at both the Musical Theatre Academy of Orange County and her school’s drama class. While in Theatre, Elyse developed strong public speaking skills, contributing to her ability to debate while in a classroom and professional setting. Along with this, Elyse holds a job as a receptionist/dental assistant where her people skills, phone/bedside manners, and communication skills are constantly being put to use. Currently, Coach Elyse serves as University Program Board’s On-Campus Entertainment Director, further developing her skills in teamwork, problem solving, communication, event planning, and creative thinking.
Coach Fidencio competed in competitive speech and debate in high school and college. Fidencio is a Phi Ro Pi national champion in Extemp, a state champion in Congressional Debate, and an award-winner in Persuasive, Communication Analysis, and Impromptu. Besides being an impressive competitor, Coach Fidencio is an outstanding coach. As the head of ModernBrain’s Congressional Debate program, he has coached multiple Congress finalists at the Middle School Tournament of Champions, the international Stanford competition, the Jack Howe invitational, the Claremont tournament, Seattle Academy, the Independence Winter Classic, the CSU Fullerton competition, the Southern States Championship, and the California Middle School State Championship. He was the coach of the 2022 NSDA National Middle School Champion.
Frank Smith is a speech coach originally from Boston, Massachusetts. A two-time state champion and national semifinalist himself, Frank loves all interpretation events (but particularly adores Humorous Interpretation). He has worked for UTNIF, Fluency, Milton Academy, Leland High School, and many others. He’s coached NSDA and NIETOC finalists and champions in Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Original Spoken Word Poetry, Prose, Storytelling, Expository, and Programmed Oral Interpretation. In 2021, he coached a four-time Showcase Finalist (the highest possible honor) at NSDA Middle School Nationals.
Frank also works as a TV and film writer. He is currently staffed on two TV series for YouTube: children’s comedy OCEAN EXPLORERS from Moonbug Entertainment (COCOMELON) and Baby Einstein (851K subscribers), and an under-wraps teen drama (17M subscribers). Previously, he wrote on Disney Channel’s RAVEN’S HOME. Prior to that, he wrote an animated pilot with Tornante TV (BOJACK HORSEMAN), developed a live-action series with Vice Studios (FYRE), and rewrote a horror movie with Fangoria (THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK).
He has also published seven plays, a mix of comedy and drama, with the nationally-recognized speech and debate publishers Mushroom Cloud Press and Always Writing 4 U. Before moving to California, Frank managed an organic chemistry lab, and planned to attend medical school. A few years ago, he starred in Episode Five of the Emmy Award-nominated TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO on Netflix.
Coach Gabriel is a member of Stanford's nationally ranked Debate Society and Mock Trial team. He was a NSDA National Runner up in US Extemp, and California State Champion in US Extemp. His placings in US Extemp at the national and California state tournament, his placing in public forum debate at the California state tournament, and his NSDA speaker points are all the highest in his high school's storied history. He was also the founder and captain of his high school's successful Mock Trial team. As a captain of his high school's speech and debate team as well, he has coached many novice and varsity students throughout the years. A pre-law public policy major, Coach Gabriel is dedicated to providing students the argumentation, public speaking, and critical thinking skills needed for both competitive success and real-world change.
Coach Gift is a nationally recognized orator and actor and an acclaimed coach for students of all ages--from elementary schoolers to working professionals. In high school, he was ranked #2 overall in California by the National Speech and Debate Association's honor society, won the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California championship in Audition Monologue, and earned 14 championships in Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation, Storytelling, and Parliamentary Debate. The California Public Interest Research Group awarded him the designation of 'Most Charming Tabler' for his canvassing work. He attended UCLA for his undergraduate degree, where he served as a Resident Assistant, a member of the Spirit Squad, and even a mascot at sports games.
Dr. Iain Lampert is thrilled to promote empathy, equity, and excellence as ModernBrain's director of organizational development. He earned his B.A. in Political Science and his College Counseling Certificate from UCLA, his M.A. in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University, his Certification in Advanced Education Leadership from Harvard University, and his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Vanderbilt University.
Iain is a lifelong advocate for competitive communication; he founded eight teams, coached winners of over 7,000 individual awards (in addition to over 1,200 individual championships, including eight national NSDA champions), and received the National Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the activity. Iain’s students are the first team in the history of Southern California to earn the National Speech and Debate Association’s Outstanding Distinction team award. In 2019, his team won sweepstakes at the Tournament of Champions. He’s coached NSDA national semifinalists, finalists, and champions in Public Forum Debate, Original Oratory, Declamation, Informative, Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Programmed Oral Interpretation, Congress, International Extemp, National Extemp, Storytelling, Expository, Poetry, Commentary, and Impromptu Speaking. During his college years, he won the American Mock Trial Association’s national championship twice. Iain is also the inaugural season-long sweepstakes champion of the Professional Speech and Debate Association. After his performances were reviewed by over 100 independent judges, he took first place in all four categories (acting, prepared speaking, spontaneous speaking, and debate) against coaches and former competitors from across the nation. In 2023, he received the W. Ward Reynoldson award for co-coaching UCLA to its fifth American Mock Trial Association national championship.
Coach Isenberg has been studying and performing in the forensics world for over a decade and is a nationally ranked competitor in theater and speech. He was a national finalist in Duet Acting at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions, and was ranked second in the Texas Forensics Association for Poetry. After a highly successful competitive career, he studied preaching and youth ministry at Johnson University in Tennessee, where he was equipped to teach and guide students toward confidence in public speaking. For the past several years, Coach Isenberg has used his skills and talents to teach children ranging from second grade to high school, and has mentored nationally ranked writers since. He is overjoyed to be teaching with ModernBrain, and looks forward to the opportunity to enrich young students with a passion for betterment through public speaking.
Jack Ryan holds a B.S degree in Psychology from UC Irvine, where he competed on the Mock Trial Team for all four years of college. Mr. Ryan began his public speaking career without any high school experience, starting with a very minor role on the team and working his way up over the years. In his final year, after winning multiple awards for his performances as both an attorney and a witness, Mr. Ryan was competing for UCI at the highest level in the American Mock Trial Association National Tournament. Mr. Ryan believes that exceptional public speaking is about developing your personal style until it truly shines, and is always eager to see what his students are capable of.
Coach JP is an accomplished orator and academic researcher who has spent many years working in corporate settings. He works as a science and technology communicator for the United Nations, which gives him unique insight in coaching Model United Nations students at ModernBrain. He has won over 10 different top research, delegation, and committee awards at top National MUN conferences in New York and Washington D.C. John Paul is currently earning a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering while he presides as founder and president of the Hyperloop research and development team at his university and runs his own nonprofit to help disadvantaged students get STEM internships.
Coach Jonah is a prized member of Western Kentucky University's nationally recognized forensics team. Jonah is originally from Minnesota, where he was a member of the Apple Valley Speech and Debate team. At Apple Valley, Jonah was the NSDA DUO national champion in both 2020 and 2021. He's the first and only competitor in the NSDA's history to win DUO twice and with different partners. Jonah also made multiple national final rounds at the NIETOC and TOC. In high school, Jonah competed in events like POI, HI, INFO, DUO and Storytelling. In college, Jonah won the NFA national championship in DUO and AFA national championship in POI. Jonah’s performances were not exclusive to speech; he was also a member of Apple Valley’s recognized theatre program and represented his school in the Minnesota all-state choir.
Coach Kate was a NSDA National Champion in Impromptu, a California State Champion in Impromptu, and a Stanford Impromptu and SPAR Champion. She was mentored by the winningest speech coach in Southern California history, and she went on to coach national champions herself. Coach Kate was involved in Speech and Debate since her freshman year of high school. She competed in a wide range of events, including Original Oratory, OPP, Impromptu, Extemp, and Parliamentary debate. She was also the team captain of one of the most successful high school teams in California history. Coach Kate is also an accomplished MUN and Mock Trial competitor and coach. She competed for Brown University.
Coach Kyla is a current American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) competitor at UC Irvine, working as an award-winning witness, attorney, and captain. This past summer, she also helped organize, instruct, and coach for UCI’s Mock Trial boot camp, where her team finished in second place. Beyond this, she has served as a mock trial coach and internal board member for UCI’s chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, in which all of her teams were undefeated.
Kyla’s speaking experience began at the age of five when she began acting professionally. She has worked for Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and several other productions, most notably The Amazing World of Gumball for twelve years. She has since maintained her status as a member of SAG-Aftra, and has directed these performative skills into her pre-law pursuit.
As an Honors Political Science and Sociology double major at UCI, Coach Kyla cannot wait to guide students in learning mock trial and honing their skills in presentation!
Coach Kyle primarily focuses on speech events, specifically interp and platform. Most recently, he has won both a State and Nationals title for Interpreter’s Theatre; a conglomeration of events involving poetry, prose, platform and more. This year, he also competed with a Persuasion speech, becoming the Top Persuasive Speaker in California at the State Championships and winning a gold award at the Phi Rho Pi Nationals Championship as well as representing the Southern California region at Interstate Oratory; the oldest tournament in the nation. Not only did he enjoy competing alongside his team, but has been fortunate to write and develop speech events with his peers and work with elementary and middle schoolers interested in speech. He is excited to continue working on forensics activities at ModernBrain!
Coach Laura began her speech career with Concordia University Irvine. She’s fallen head over heels in love with the activity. During her time as a competitor so far, she’s competed in POI (her favorite event), DUO, Poetry, Informative, and Impromptu.
Growing up, Laura was obsessed with theater and has been performing since the age of 8. This is what helped make a smooth transition into interpretive events in the speech world. In high school, Laura was blessed to be able to take dual enrollment classes at her local junior college, Modesto Junior College (MJC). While studying at MJC, Laura was able to study Public Speaking, Sociology, and Intercultural Communications to prepare for her time as a speech competitor in college.
Laura loves being able to share the love of this activity with younger students by nurturing their passion for speaking and giving them guidance on how to improve each week.
Coach Lukas is currently attending UCLA. He competed in policy debate and Lincoln-Douglas in high school. The National Speech and Debate Association named him the top-ranked policy debater in California. He won national tournaments such as UC Berkeley and La Costa Canyon. He reached deep eliminations of Nationals two years in a row and was a finalist at the California state championship. Lukas has coached students to the semifinals of middle school Nationals and enjoys helping students develop argumentative and research skills.
Coach Margarita began competitive speech and debate through the YMCA's Youth and Government Model Legislature and Court Program, where ey became one of the most successful delegates in the Appellate Court and Supreme Court programs. After many winning performances at the state level, Margarita was chosen for the National Judicial Competition, where ey came in third place. Next, Margarita coached eir high school Moot Court team to victory; eir students included both the highest average scoring team and the 1st- and 2nd-place scoring competitors in their division. Margarita continued to coach high school students in legislative speech and debate, focusing on responsibly authoring legislative bill proposals. Margarita finished eir Politics B.A. coursework in two and a half years, graduating with two theses from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Coach Matthew is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Southern California. During his college career, he completed internships at the Los Angeles County Business Federation, participated in several research internships, and volunteered with the Joint Educational Project (JEP) in the David and Dornsife School of Letters and Sciences. During his time with JEP, he specialized in teaching reading skills and speaking skills to elementary school students who had fallen behind in these critical areas.
In high school, Matthew was a three-time qualifier to the National Speech and Debate Association's national championship. He was a Los Angeles county champion in mock trial, the Peninsula champion in Impromptu, the Schurr champion in Parliamentary Debate, a league champion in Extemp, Public Forum, and Student Congress, and the district champion in Public Forum.
Coach Michael is a national champion speaker and debater. While he was competing, he claimed the title of national champion in Parliamentary Debate from Phi Ro Pi. Both his undergrad and graduate work was in economics. Michael has worked as an economic consultant and he has performed research on training students to become financially and economically literate and has helped create standardized Econ tests for schools. When students learn from coach Michael, they don’t just learn speech and debate: they learn how to think like an economist.
Michael began his Speech and Debate career at Bellarmine College Prep and competed in both Expository speaking and Lincoln-Douglas debate. He qualified for Bellarmine's travel team for his junior and senior years, gaining valuable experience in both lay and circuit debate. Michael reached outrounds at circuit tournaments such as the Cal Invitational at UC Berkeley, Longhorn Classic at UT Austin, and the MLK Invitational at Logan HS. He also placed in semifinals in Expository and quarterfinals in LD at the California state tournament his senior year. Michael continued debating in college, reaching high-level outrounds in NFA-LD and NPDA parliamentary debate. He graduated UC Berkeley in 2015 with a degree in Political Science.
Michael has also used his debating skills to engage in real world advocacy. Michael advocated for improved public transit access during his time at De Anza College, and a few years ago, began engaging in pro-tenant advocacy to help address the Bay Area's substantial housing crisis. Michael is returning to the world of debate coaching after having spent time coaching multiple Bay Area high school programs in years past.
Coach Miles has designed curriculum and coached for institutions such as the Stanford National Forensic Institute and Campbell Hall High School. The majority of his students have advanced to the elimination rounds of major national tournaments. Miles has years of experience in the college circuit, where he won three collegiate debate state championships and a plethora of accolades in both limited prep speech events and NFA-LD debate. As of 2023, he's the president of the Kentucky Forensics Association.
During high school, Coach Miles was an NSDA National Champion, a two-time California State Finalist, and a five-time Stanford invitational finalist. He specialized in Extemp, Impromptu, Oratory, Congress, and Public Forum Debate. Miles was also involved in high school Mock Trial and was named the #1 defense attorney in the Constitutional Rights Foundation's Los Angeles competition.
Coach Natalie found her love of debate during her junior year of high school when she joined Hebron High School’s Congressional Debate team. She quickly rose in notoriety in the same year and was chosen to attend the prestigious American Legion Auxiliary Bluebonnet Girls State, where her love for legislation shone as she was one of the five girl senators whose bill had been chosen for debate on the Texas Senate Floor. Since then, Natalie has coached for Hebron High school's congress and extemporaneous speaking teams while teaching Congressional Debate online, helping debaters learn how to efficiently conduct source research in an era of the rapid spread of information and misinformation. She is working towards a bachelor's degree in Economics with a concentration in International Studies at the University of Dallas.
Coach Natalie recently graduated from UCLA after competing for four years on one of the top-ranked Mock Trial teams in the country. She served as co-captain of UCLA’s A Team for three years, leading them to a third and second place division finish at the 2021 and 2022 National Competition Tournaments, and winning seven personal awards for her performance as a closing attorney and expert witness, including two All-Regional Attorney awards in 2019 and 2021. Natalie has served as a UCLA Mock Trial Institute counselor for three years, training high school students in university-level legal analysis and oral argument. Natalie is also an experienced scientific researcher and communicator: in her three years of conducting laboratory research at UCLA, she co-authored three scientific publications, including a review paper sharing cutting-edge discoveries in the use of a T-cell subtype in CAR-based cancer immunotherapy with other researchers in her field. She received Departmental Honors in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics for her graduation thesis and won a Dean’s Prize for excellence in research presentation in 2022.
Coach Nina is a speech, debate, and mock trial coach. She recently concluded her competitive career winning both a state and national championship. She served as president of the college speech and debate team that has won the most national championships in history. She contributed this success by winning Gold in Informative Speaking, Parliamentary Debate and IPDA at the California State Championship; she was titled the Top Speaker in the State of California for 2023. At the national championship, Coach Nina and her partner were named the top debate team in the country. In her spare time, Coach Nina loves to help others and teach them important skills like research, eloquence, and advocacy. She is excited to continue her legacy of excellence here at ModernBrain!
Coach Noah, who currently studies at USC, has coached students to great success in Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, and Congress debate. Noah is a leader with a passion for public advocacy. He is the youngest person to receive the ACLU’s Voice of Tomorrow award for his hard work and activism to make the world a better place.
Coach Noah's students ranked in the top four in the nation for the Reagan Great Communicator Debates, earning both scholarships and internship opportunities. His students have advanced to elimination rounds at various circuit competitions in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate, including the Middle School Tournament of Champions, the High School TOC, the Jack Howe, and La Costa Canyon. He's qualified back-to-back teams to the High School Policy Tournament of Champions, one of the most prestigious competitions in America; both teams included novice debaters.
Coach Rand is a former NSDA national champion who currently competes for Northwestern University’s mock trial team. In high school, Rand won championships in Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Improv Duo, and Original Oratory at invitational and league tournaments alike. Rand earned octofinals in Humorous Interpretation, finals in Expository Speaking, and a National Championship in Storytelling during his junior year. Following high school, Rand enrolled at Northwestern University and joined the school’s nationally recognized mock trial team. In 2021-2022, Rand was selected to compete on Northwestern’s top team at the National Championship Tournament, ultimately earning 8th place at the competition — the program’s best placement in over a decade.
Rebel is ModernBrain’s director of recruitment and communications. She graduated with honors from Cal State Long Beach with a BS in communication studies and a Master’s in communication studies. She is an award-winning communication researcher, with the top paper in the Women’s Studies Division of the National Communication Conference in 2018. While Rebel was competing, she was a National Finalist in Duo, Persuasion, and Communication Analysis and claimed a title as an AFA award-winning speaker.
Coach Rich Simpkins has coached and judged high school various levels for 35 years both on a volunteer and professional basis. During that time, he’s worked at TFA, UIL, and NSDA (formerly NFL) speech tournaments, was tournament director for the SMU Symposium Classic from 2004 to 2007, volunteered to coach a new team at Singley Academy (which won the UIL district championship for Lincoln-Douglas debate that year, the first year of the team’s existence) and consulted for Hebron High School for the past 6 years. In all, Rich has been a part of more than 300 DFW area tournaments and has judged well over 1,000 rounds of speech and debate events. He specializes in Lincoln-Douglas, parliamentary, world schools, and policy debate, as well as extemporaneous speaking and oratory. Beyond debate, Simpkins has been partner and outreach coordinator for the online book selection engine, WorldsWithoutEnd.com for the past 20 years. Every story is itself an argument, and that’s how he has approached his bookish endeavors, as well. Rich believes that there’s no avenue of research that doesn’t benefit from broad historical and literary context.
Coach McKeever is one of the best debate coaches in Orange County. He has taught speech and debate in southern California for over a decade. He is a current graduate student of secondary education and has crafted curricula for over a dozen schools throughout Orange County. His teams have won over 400 awards in four different leagues at the local, state, and national championship levels of competition. Some highlights include: mentoring students to consecutive regional championships and national elimination rounds at the Reagan Presidential Foundation Great Communicator Debate Series; coaching Jeffrey Trail Middle School to the designation of #1 ranked debate team in the Orange County Debate League (twice!); and earning #1 national rankings in both Parliamentary and Team Policy debate at the STOA National Championship.
Scott Wheeler is ModernBrain’s director of debate. He is one of the best debate coaches in the United States. He is the first coach in history to receive the Ted W. Belch award for being the best policy debate coach in the US for two consecutive years. Over the past eight years, Mr. Wheeler has coached his teams to four national championships and seven state championships as well as winning at the most prestigious and difficult competitions in the US including Stanford, Cal Berkeley, Emory, Greenhill, St. Marks, Blake, and MBA. Mr. Wheeler’s teams have won the Unger Cup twice, an award for the Policy Debate team that places highest in six different national tournaments. Scott has a BS in Communication from Northwestern.
Coach Sean is an aspiring actor, director, and public speaker with years of leadership experience in academically competitive events ranging from Forensics to Mock Trial. As a senior in high school, Sean was ranked #1 in the United States of America by the National Speech and Debate Association and a four-time national tournament qualifier. He won numerous championships in multiple events including Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, Student Congress, and Parliamentary Debate.
Also competing in Mock Trial for five consecutive years, Sean is an All-American competitor who helped captain the Yale Mock Trial Association to several championships, received numerous awards for “outstanding attorney” and “outstanding witness” respectively, and was the highest-ranked witness in the 2021 National Final Round.
Sean is a recent graduate from Yale University, where he double majored in Political Science and Theater and Performance Studies.
Coach Tabitha's journey with speech and debate began the summer before her junior year of high school when a friend invited her to speech and debate camp. During her junior and senior years of high school, she quickly became absorbed with competing in Lincoln Douglas and Parliamentary Debate as well as Original Oratory, Impromptu, and Demonstration. She qualified for Nationals both years she competed and became a Demonstration quarterfinalist at nationals her Senior year. Tabitha's speech and debate career led her to discover a love for communication, which would become her major in college. While attending Vanguard University of Southern California, Tabitha was awarded the Lambda Pi Eta Outstanding Communication Major Award. She graduated Summa Cum Laude earning her B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. Additionally, Tabitha has a passion for working with kids and has over seven years of experience teaching preschoolers to high schoolers. Coach Tabitha believes that in an age when hate speech is all too common, it is critical to cultivate character in students and help them develop the life-long skills to communicate in a winsome and gracious manner.
Coach Tanya was the 2023 Pi Kappa Delta LD Debate National champion. In her time competing on Western Kentucky’s highly prestigious LD debate team, she was also second place speaker at the Grand Prix national tournament and an NFA national quarterfinalist. Beyond debate, Tanya has experience competing in every event category, competing in interpretation and platform speaking at the national level. She served as the debate student representative for the National Forensics Association from 2022-2023, and was captain of one of the most successful community college forensics teams in the country for two years.
Coach Thomas debates for the University of Southern California. He has five years of competitive experience in policy debate, congress, LD, and extemporaneous speaking. Thomas won numerous national tournaments, including Grapevine, Meadows, and Saint Marx; he cleared to elimination rounds at nearly every national tournament on the circuit. Thomas continues to refine his debate prowess on the college national circuit.
Carl "Trig" is a national champion speaker who coached the two-time national champion collegiate speech and debate team at Concordia University Irvine. He coached many students to incredible success, including the middle school POI national champion. Coach Trig is loved by students for making learning fun while also demanding excellence and producing amazing results. Trig is a master of capturing audience attention and is also a successful magician who has performed across the country, including at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.
Coach Yaw was the Director of Forensics (speech and debate) at the two-time national championship-winning team at Concordia University. When he was competing, he placed nationally in interp events including poetry and DI. He won the American Forensic Association’s Outstanding Coach of the year award in 2018. Yaw has coached University level speech teams that have ranked in the top 10 in the United States for the last several years. Coach Yaw teaches all speech events at the national level and is famous for inspiring students to not only become great speakers, but also for having a passion for communication.