Take the first step towards your championship with the best public speaking coaches in the business.
Coach Abigail is the winningest speaker in college competition history. Abigail has won 12 national championships in many different events, including Dramatic Interp, Prose, Poetry, Duo, and more. She is the only person to have won the AFA title in Dramatic Interpretation twice and is an NFA Pentathlon National Champion, meaning she won more points at nationals than any other competitor. Abigail is such a great speaker that one year she tried a new event just for fun and won 2nd place in the US. She has a BS in Human Development & Family Studies and is currently pursuing a medical degree, both from the University of Austin, Texas.
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 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.
Coach Alissa is ModernBrain’s director of curriculum and instruction. She is a five-time national speech champion and seven-time state speech champion with experience in advancing to twenty-seven national out rounds. She was ranked the fourth-place overall 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. She received her BS from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in communication studies and a minor in political science. She received her Master’s in communication studies at Cal State Long Beach. As a child, Coach Alissa was an ESL student and wants to help all her students regardless of language skills achieve success in speaking.
Coach Amy is a student at UC Irvine, where she studies international studies and political science. She has been involved in public speaking activities for the past seven years, specializing in Model United Nations and Mock Trial. She won numerous delegate awards in a variety of Model UN committees, including the Security Council, Legal Committee, and Human Rights Council. She is currently a captain with UC Irvine's nationally-ranked Mock Trial team, where she continues to learn and hone her public speaking skills as an attorney.
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 Asha isn’t just a competitor. She's a tireless advocate who has worked to make the world of speech and debate a better place. She served on the National Forensic Association's Council of Diversity and Equity. She fought for policy changes during her time on the Western Kentucky University's national championship team, including creating a database for anonymous reporting of hate crimes and facilitating a new program pertaining to international students. Asha has won many awards in speech, including a national championship in Duo, Persuasion, and Poetry, as well as national finalist placements in After-Dinner Speaking, Prose, Duo, Programmed Oral Interpretation, and Poetry.
David “Bear” Saulet attended Concordia University Irvine on a debate scholarship. During his time at Concordia, Bear and his partner would become the top parliamentary debate partnership in California as well as the second best partnership nationwide. Since graduating from Concordia, Bear has served as the Assistant Director of Debate at Concordia Irvine, where his team won 1st place sweepstakes at the National Parliamentary Debate Association tournament, as well as the Assistant Director of Forensics at Oxford Academy. Bear holds a master's degree in Communication Studies from the California State University Long Beach.
“Bear” has been a fixture at the famous POI Debate Institute at UC Berkeley since its founding in 2013, where he served as the director of the Institute's Master Class program.
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.
Dorri 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 Dorri was competing, she was a National Finalist in Duo, Persuasion, and Communication Analysis and claimed a title as an AFA award-winning speaker.
Coach Erica is an actor, writer, and director based in Los Angeles. While a student at the University of Southern California, Dasher produced the feature-length documentary, FIGURES OF SPEECH, narrated by Chris Pine. A former Harvard Champion and longtime speech enthusiast, the film is very much a love-letter to the activity. Upon completion, the doc was acquired by Gravitas Ventures and distributed by Netflix. After graduating from college, Dasher was cast opposite Andie MacDowell as the lead of Freeform's cult hit, JANE BY DESIGN. While continuing her work as an actor, Dasher moved behind the camera, directing music videos and commercials for clients like Pia Mia, Rainsford, Guess Perfume, and Billboard Music. Her first short film as both writer and director, OUROBOROS, starred Rosario Dawson and premiered at last year’s Hollyshorts Film Festival. Dasher also sold an animated dark comedy to Tornante, the studio behind Bojack Horseman. She is a current and original member of PUBLIC ASSEMBLY, a Los Angeles theater group that mounts monthly short plays, written, directed, and acted by group members. Most recently, Dasher starred in Kati Skelton’s Adult Swim pilot LUSTY CREST, which won the Special Jury Recognition for Comedy at SXSW.
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.
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 most recently was in the writers’ room on RAVEN’S HOME, the sequel to the hit series THAT’S SO RAVEN, for Disney Channel. Previously, he wrote an animated pilot with Tornante TV, developed a live-action series with Vice Studios (FYRE), and rewrote a horror movie with Fangoria / Cinestate (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 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 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 6,000 individual awards (in addition to over 1,000 individual championships, including six national NSDA champions), and received the National Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the activity. Iain’s students are the only 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, 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.
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. 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. He is excited to join the ModernBrain team, and is looking forward to helping students learn how to take on events like DUO interpretation.
Coach Josiah is a student at the University of California, Irvine where he studies criminology with a focus in humanities and law. He's one of the most decorated mock trial competitors in the activity; after he was honored as one of the top high school advocates in the country, he earned All-National recognition in college from the American Mock Trial Association. He currently serves as a captain of UC Irvine’s mock trial team, where he continues to develop his argumentation and public speaking skills.
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 Lexi has been involved in Speech and Debate for the past 16 years. In her time as a competitor, Coach Lexi competed mainly in Original Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation, Congressional Debate, Public Forum Debate and Duo Interpretation. She was a two-time California State and National Qualifier, and won championships at many invitational and regional tournaments. Her senior year in Original Oratory she was the Berkeley Invitational Tournament Champion, California State Runner-Up, and finished 4th place at Nationals. As a coach, Lexi has coached students to local and state championships in California, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Colorado, and New Jersey, as well as multiple National outrounds in Limited Preparation, Interpretation, and Platform Speaking events, including NSDA national finalists. She has also coached over 20 students to NSDA outrounds and over 30 High School National Qualifiers. Coach Lexi is also credentialed to teach English in both Arizona and California. Her focus is on improving writing skills, creative writing, and reading comprehension..
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.
Coach Mikey has been involved in Speech and Debate for the past six years as a competitor, mentor, and coach. His coaches realized his potential as a strong competitor and leader from the start. He was nominated and voted in his first year of competition to be a team captain, when is when his passion for coaching and mentoring began. Competitively, Mikey always ensured his team was in the correct position to have fun and win. His teammates would call him the "jack of all trades" because he was one of the few who competed in all Speech and Debate areas. Mikey graduated with honors from Cal State Long Beach with a BS in communication studies. He is currently getting a master's in communication studies at San Francisco State University. Coach Mikey has helped programs in the Bay Area get their students competition-ready in as little as a month. He is a true believer in allowing students to find their voice in forensics, helping them be as competitive as they choose while simultaneously guiding them to apply these skills to their school work and real life.
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.
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 Noah is a phenomenal coach and 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 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 Seis has been involved in Speech for over a decade. He's competed at the national level in high school and college; he's coached at some of the most respected institutions in the nation since graduating. In high school, Seis was a multi-time state champion and national finalist in events like Humorous Interpretation, Duo Interpretation and Duet Acting. He was the 2015 NSDA Runner-Up (and Final Round Champion) in Duo Interpretation. In college, Seis was a multi-time national champion in After Dinner Speaking, a comedic speech written to persuade or inform. Additionally, Seis reached elimination rounds and finals in Prose Interpretation, Program of Oral Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry interpretation, and Informative Speaking. Seis received his BS in Advertising and BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin. Seis is currently finishing his Masters of Fine Arts in Screenwriting at UCLA.
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 & debate team at Concordia University Irvine. He coached many students to incredible success, including coaching 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 William has been involved in competitive speech and debate for the past nine years: eight as a competitor in high school and collegiate circuits and three as a volunteer coach. As a competitor, Coach William focused on Extemporaneous Speaking (both Domestic and International), Impromptu, and Congressional Debate whilst also finding success in Original Oratory, Informative, Persuasive, Communication Analysis, Parliamentary Debate, and IPDA Debate. His participation brought his teams their first Extemp State runner-up and champion positions in addition to Phi Rho Pi National Championships in Extemp, Persuasive, and IPDA Debate. As a volunteer coach, he has helped foster and strengthen small, emerging limited preparation and debate programs. Coach William graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a B.S. in Communication Studies as the department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student.
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.