Who We Are

The Boston Debate League brings together an active community of students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders devoted to improving the education and life skills of disadvantaged urban youth in Boston.

Boston Public Schools

Boston Public Schools (BPS), who serves a large and diverse student population that is 85% students of color and 72% free or reduced cost lunch, has invested substantially in debate, and is our partner and the institutional home for the League.

The League is championed by Reverend Gregory G. Groover, Chair of the Boston School Committee, Dr. Carol R. Johnson, Superintendent of Boston Public Schools.

Schools in the After School Debate League: 

Boston Green Academy – Co-Headmasters, Matt Holzer and Natalie Jaeger; MS Coach: Jerome McNeil; HS Coaches: Ashley Zahlaway and Mia Lefkowitz.

Boston Latin Academy – Headmaster, Emilia Pastor; HS Coaches: David Barry, Paul Eaton, Mary Dibinga, Joe Rodriguez, and Hayley Smith; MS Coaches: TBA.

Brighton High School – Headmaster, Dr. Patrick Tutwiler; Coaches: Rane Baldwin, Mike Liang.

Charlestown High School – Headmaster, William Thomas; Coaches: James Soares, Chris Day, Matt Grimes, Angel Lee, and Yanitza Medina.

Clarence Edwards Middle School – Headmaster, Robert Rametti; Ani Barsoumian and Erin Connearney.

Dorchester Academy – Headmaster, Kwesi Moody; Coaches: Sylvia Witlin-Rua and Quinn Landers.

East Boston High School – Headmaster, Phil Brangiforte; Coaches: Patrick Morse, Antonio Arvelo, Ruben Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez, and Josue Romero.

Edward M.Kennedy Academy for the Health Careers – Headmaster, Dr. Caren Walker Gregory; Coaches: Carolyn Barrows, Malcolm Pringle.

Eliot K-8 School – Principal Traci Walker-Griffith; Coaches: David Glinner and Sydney Palms.

English High School – Headmaster, Ligia Noriega-Murphy; Coaches: Mike Caprigno, Emily Trono, Sarah Kaplan, and Christaan Summerhill.

Excel High School – Headmaster, Stephanie Sibley; Coaches: Pamela Malpartida, Jen Garay, and Dan Ordorica.

Fenway High School – Headmaster, Dr. Peggy Kemp; Coaches: Rachel Norris, Jacob Winniman, Jenny Seigel, and Carlos Lowery.

Hennigan K-8 School (currently K-6) –  Principal, Maria Cordon; Coaches: Valencia Hughes-Imani, and Kristie McElhaney.

Jeremiah Burke High School – Headmaster, Lindsa McIntyre; Coaches: Kristina Keller-Bianchi, Carlos Monteiro, Brett McLean, and Reba Tierney.

Joseph Lee K-8 School – Headmaster, Kimberly E. Curtis-Crowley; Coaches: Natalia Cuadra-Saez and Robert Bustamante.

Josiah Quincy Upper School – Headmasters, Richard Chang and Stephen Cirasuolo; Coaches: Alicia Reines-Leo, Daniel McKoy, Peter Chan, Cary Chin, Michael Li, Justin Mei, and Frezzella Cullinane.

McCormack Middle School Headmaster, Michael Sabin; Coaches: Pam Doiley and Prieto Meliza.

Mildred K-8 School – Principal, Mweusi Willingham; Coaches: Derek Doherty and Ronald Shelborne.

New Mission High School / BCLA – Headmaster Nia Wilson and Brett Dickens, respectively; Coaches:  Bristol Konjoian, Ravi Singh, Emily Silas, and Rene Reyes.

Sarah Greenwood K-8 School – Prinicpal/Headmaster, Alexander Mathews; Coaches: Tatiana Matthews and Cernest Undag.

Tech Boston Academy – Co-Headmasters Keith Love and Nora Vernazza; HS Coaches: Yusuf Hamdan and Rachel Chess; MS Coaches: Lisa Renzi and Ryan Roberts.

Timilty Middle School – Principal Renee McCall; Coaches: Teresa Knoess, Carol McMillan, and Ashley Cheryl.

Urban Science Academy and West Roxbury Academy– Headmasters Nicole Gittens and Rudy Weekes; Coaches: Alan Humbert, Margaret Moynihan, Erich Mueller, and Magda Zabala.

Washington Irving Middle School – Principal Arthur Unobsky; Coaches: Cleata Brown and Cheryl Snyder-Samuels

Young Achievers K-8 School – Principal, Virginia Chalmers; Coaches: Meg Loughnane and David Jones.

Schools participating in the Evidence-Based Argumentation program:

Boston Green Academy
Edward Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
English High School
Excel High School
Jeremiah Burke High School
Mildred K-8 School
Timilty Middle School


Boston Debate League Staff

Steve Stein, Executive Director
Steve is the Executive Director of the Boston Debate League and has fifteen years of experience with urban debate leagues. He is a former nationally competitive high school and college debater and was a debate coach of one of the largest and most successful high school teams in the country. He holds a Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and taught high school history for ten years. Mr. Stein was also the co-founder of the Atlanta Middle School Urban Debate league, has consulted with Urban Debate Leagues in Atlanta, Chicago, and Milwaukee, has worked at and directed numerous summer urban debate institutes, and conducted many coach training and professional development workshops for teachers and coaches.

Lynne Reznick, Director of After-School Programs
Lynee is the Director of After-School Programs. Previously, Lynne was an Instructional Coach for the Evidence-Based Argumentation Initiative. Before joining the Boston Debate League, Lynne taught Social Studies for ten years in Hartford, CT. As a leader in her school, Lynne served as Department Chair, Team Leader, and as a Curriculum and Instructional coach for new teachers. She also helped create and deliver professional development sessions at the school and district levels. After her move to Boston, Lynne spent a year working as the Assistant Director of the Corporate Work Study Program for Cristo Rey Boston High School in Dorchester. In this position, she worked closely with students, parents, and corporate supervisors to facilitate a meaningful and successful work experience for all constituencies involved. Lynne earned her undergraduate degree from Dickinson College and her Masters of Arts degree in American Studies from Trinity College.

Anna Shaddae Rodriguez, After-School Program Manager
Anna is a Boston Debate League alumna. She was among one of the first interns hired by the BDL and has remained involved with the league throughout her undergrad career. She joined the organization as a full-time staff member in June 2014 shortly after receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Ethnography and Legal Theory from Hampshire College. Anna is responsible for providing support to a cohort of Boston Public Schools competing in the Boston Debate League, with a special focus on the Spanish-speaking coaches and debaters.

Tyrell Carter, After-School Program Associate
Tyrell Carter is an alumnus of the Boston Debate League. Prior to joining the BDL team, Tyrell worked as a youth mentor for the Harvard Crimson Summer Academy. There, he tutored students in their summer courses while providing mentorship. In August 2014 he decided to join the Boston Debate League to continue to pursue his passion of mentoring and serving youth. Tyrell currently works as the After School Program Associate for the middle school division. His responsibilities include supporting middle schools through site visits, making necessary debate materials and resources available to coaches, and assisting in managing tournaments. Tyrell is also a graduate of Syracuse University. During his time at Syracuse University, Tyrell dual-majored in Communications with a concentration in rhetorical analysis and speech presentation and in Economics with a concentration in financial management.

Marisa Suescun, Director of EBA Programs
Marisa is the Director of Evidence-Based Argumentation Programs at Boston Debate League.  Marisa has spent the past 13 years working on behalf of public education equity through many avenues: she has taught students, trained teachers, coached youth leaders, facilitated organizations, and fostered community partnerships. She began her career teaching elementary school as a member of the first cohort of NYC Teaching Fellows.  Later, she completed the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and helped lead Coro’s Exploring Leadership program for NYC high school students.  Most recently, Marisa worked with the T3 Initiative at Teach Plus in Boston, facilitating district and school partnerships in support of teacher leadership.

Sarah Mayper, EBA Instructional Coach
Sarah Mayper, Ed.D. is a veteran teacher with more than 20 years of experience working in public schools.  She holds a B.A. in English from Brown University, an M.Ed in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Stanford University, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University, where her research focused on students with disabilities in the Boston Public Schools.  She is a Fellow of the California Arts Project, where she taught teachers from across the state in all four arts disciplines, and contributed to early drafts of the California State Standards in arts education.   She has extensive experience as a teacher educator, leading professional development in mathematics, arts integration, literacy across the curriculum, and differentiation.  She recently completed an administrative internship at the Harbor School in Dorchester, part of Boston Public Schools’ pioneering development of a full-inclusion K-12 school serving students with and without disabilities.

Sarah Amaral, Volunteer Relations Manager
Sarah is the Volunteer Relations Manager of the Boston Debate League.  Sarah has over five years experience with volunteer recruitment, training and management. Prior to joining the BDL team, Sarah worked in the Emergency Services department of the American Red Cross in Philadelphia, PA and Grand Rapids, MI. There, she identified critical needs and implemented strategic plans to increase volunteer involvement and external partnerships to assure clients received compassionate and timely emergency relief. At the BDL, Sarah’s responsibilities include identifying staffing needs, recruitment and training of volunteers, and ensuring volunteers are enjoying their donated time. Sarah received her B.S. in Mathematics from Bridgewater State University and is a certified mathematics teacher.

Michelle Barry, Volunteer Coordinator
Michelle joined the Boston Debate League in August 2014, and is responsible for the recruitment and retention of the volunteer tournament judges. Prior to joining the BDL, Michelle served as the Civic Engagement Analyst AmeriCorps VISTA to Citizen Schools National Headquarters in Boston. There, she was responsible for creating programs that engaged, mobilized, and sustained volunteer retention on a large scale. At the BDL, Michelle engages citizens from around the community in the debate league to bolster student success.

Lydia Carbone, Foundation Relations Manager
Lydia joined BDL in 2014 bringing with her 30 years of non-profit work experience. With an MSW in Policy, Planning & Administration from Rutgers University, she has engaged in program evaluation, advocacy, training, program development and program management, in settings that address issues such as child welfare, juvenile justice, homelessness and domestic and sexual violence. Although writing grants has often been a part of Lydia’s responsibilities, it has been the core focus of her work for the last six years. Having spent much of her time living and working in urban areas, including New York City, Newark, Phoenix, Lydia enjoys using her leisure time to travel to remote areas such as southern and western Africa, curiously noticing the similarities and differences in challenges faced by people in different places.

Donna Clark, Director of Development
Donna has more than fifteen years of experience raising money for non-profit organizations. She has worked in a variety of sectors, including education, the arts, and human services. Most recently, Donna was Chief Development Officer at YWCA Boston, where she was responsible for development, marketing, and communications. Prior to this, she worked at Victory Programs and Pine Street Inn in Boston, INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and Music of the Baroque and Facing History and Ourselves in Chicago. Donna Clark has a wide range of experience across development specialties, including development strategy and planning, relationship building and fundraising, data analysis, annual fund design and implementation, communications, and proposal writing for foundations and state and city government. She is also an experienced manager of development teams.

Anne Marshall, Evaluation Manager
Anne Marshall joined the Boston Debate League as an Evaluation Manager in 2015. She brings 20 years of experience with designing and conducting research and evaluation studies to this new position. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Boston College, Anne headed to UCLA to obtain a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in educational research & program evaluation. While in Los Angeles, she worked on evaluation studies of university outreach programs in local school districts as well as evaluations of the LA’s BEST afterschool program. Anne then served as the Assistant Director of Research at UCLA’s Lab School where she worked closely with classroom teachers on the documentation of instructional best practices. Following her work in LA, Anne was an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University, teaching research and evaluation methods to teachers and principals. Her work since returning to Boston has focused on analyzing academic outcomes of BPS students, as well as case studies of district management of autonomous schools in five districts across the country.

Board of Directors

John Isaacson (Chair): President, Isaacson Miller

Mary Dibinga: English Teacher, Boston Latin Academy

Gabe Fried (Treasurer): Chief Executive Officer, Hilco Steambank

Maureen Golga: Senior Vice President, Weber Shandwick

Milind Godbole: Managing Director and Vice-President, Sapient

Matt Schnall: Partner, WilmerHale





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