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.

Schools in the After School Debate League: 

Another Course to College – Headmaster, Lisa Gilbert-Smith; Coaches: Michele Pelham, Cory O’Hayer, Lornex Rono

Boston Green Academy – Headmaster, Matt Holzer; HS Coaches: Ashley Zahlaway and Lucia Mandelbaum

Boston International High School – Headmaster, Thomas King; Coach: Caitlin MacLeod-Bluver

Boston Latin Academy – Headmaster, Troy Henniger; HS Coaches: David Barry, Paul Eaton, Mary Dibinga, and Joe Rodriguez; MS Coaches: Justin Norton

Brighton High School – Headmaster, Emily Bozeman;

Charlestown High School – Headmaster, William Thomas; Coaches: James Soares, Chris Day, Matt Grimes, and Caroline Smith

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

Donald McKay School – Headmaster, Jordan Weymer; Coaches: Bruce Kamerer and Jim Cleere

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, Alex Kaufman, and Althea Luhm

Eliot K-8 School – Principal Traci Walker-Griffith; Coaches: David Glinner and Tara Correa

English High School – Headmaster, Ligia Noriega-Murphy; Coaches: Mike Caprigno, Mike Liang, and Emily Trono

Excel High School – Headmaster, Stephanie Sibley; Coaches: Pamela Malpartida, Triet Vo, Leisa Quinones, and Dan Ordorica

Fenway High School – Headmaster, Dr. Peggy Kemp; Coaches: Rachel Norris and Nadine Reed

Hennigan K-8 School –  Principal, Maria Cordon; Coaches: Valencia Hughes-Imani, and Kristie McElhaney

Jeremiah Burke High School – Headmaster, Lindsa McIntyre; Coaches: Carlos Monteiro, Brett McLean, Sarah Evans, and Reba Tierney.

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

Josiah Quincy Upper School – Headmasters, Richard Chang and Stephen Cirasuolo; Coaches: Alicia Reines-Leo, Cary Chin, Justin Mei, and Frezzella Cullinane

Margarita Muniz Academy – Headmaster, Dania Vazquez; Coaches: Marilu Alvarado-Hernandez, Stephanie Diaz, Laura Gersch, Kelly Gil-Franco

McCormack Middle School Headmaster, Jose Duarte; Coaches: Pam Doiley, Prieto Meliza, and David Morris

Mildred K-8 School – Principal, Andrew Rollins; Coaches: Derek Doherty and Jolan Williams

New Mission High School / BCLA – Headmaster Naia Wilson and Brett Dickens, respectively; Coaches: Rene Reyes, Emily Silas, Ravi Singh, and Mariana Troncoso

TechBoston Academy – Co-Headmasters Keith Love and Nora Vernazza; Coach: Lianne Hughes

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, and Erich Mueller

Washington Irving Middle School – Principals Harold Miller Jr. and Karin Kell Deyo; Coaches: Cheryl Snyder-Samuels

Young Achievers K-8 School – Principal, Virginia Chalmers; Coaches: Clay Brown and Omega Roberts

Schools participating in the Evidence-Based Argumentation program:

Boston Green Academy
Edward Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (Alumni School)
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
Lynne 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.

Roger Nix, After-School Program Manager
Roger Nix joined the Boston Debate League as a staff member in July 2015.  Previously, he was a head debate coach for the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers (EMK) for its inaugural three seasons in the BDL.  Roger also served as an EBA Teacher Leader while teaching tenth and eleventh grade math at EMK.  During his five years at EMK, Roger heavily promoted student involvement in after school activities by founding and coaching the track and field and baseball teams, and by teaching in extracurricular programs such as MCAS Prep, SAT Prep, and Northeastern University’s Bridge to Calculus.  Roger holds a M.Ed. from Boston College and a B.S. in Mathematics from Northeastern University.  He is also licensed to teach English as a Second Language (5-12), Moderate Special Needs (5-12), and Secondary Math (8-12).

Kristen Bonstein, After-School Program Manager
Kristen Bonstein is the After-School Program Manager for BDL’s member middle schools. She was born in New Jersey and lived for several years in Atlanta and Brooklyn before settling in the wonderful city of Boston. Kristen earned a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University and a MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College and is passionate about the role arts education plays in youth development. Kristen spent five years as a school administrator, serving as Director of Operations at MATCH Middle School and on the founding staff of an all-girls’ grade 6-12 NYC public school, where she taught drama, cultivated partnerships, and directed enrichment activities. Most recently, Kristen spent three years developing in- and out-of-school time learning experiences for the international ArtScience Prize program.

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.

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Kimberly Willingham, EBA Instructional Coach
Kimberly Willingham, an Instructional Coach for BDL’s Evidence-Based Argumentation Initiative, has served public school students and their families in a number of capacities.  Most recently, she was Assistant Principal and Interim Co-Principal of a Level 5 School in Boston.  Previously, Kimberly worked at Education Development Center, Inc. providing public school districts across the country with technical assistance and comprehensive reviews of special education programs and settings.  Her work was especially focused on the implementation of multi-tiered systems of academic and behavioral support and expanding inclusive schooling practices.  Kimberly also has experience creating in-person and web-based professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders, and district administrators; and managing youth programs and parent engagement initiatives.  Kimberly began her career in education as a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.  She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Eastern Michigan University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, respectively.

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.

Stacey Theragene, Commonwealth Corps After-School Engagement Specialist
Stacey joined the Boston Debate League in March 2015 as an intern with the Evidence-Based Argumentation Team. While entrenched with assessment tests from middle and high school students, she became closely tied to the BDL mission and accepted her current position as Commonwealth Corps After-School Engagement Specialist in August 2015. In this role, Stacey works within the volunteer department focusing her efforts on recruiting and retaining volunteers. In addition, she is communicating with parents of middle school debaters to share successes and assure they are a part of our larger BDL community. During her ten-month service term, Stacey is excited to learn more about volunteer management, garner experience within the nonprofit sector, and has set her sights to start college next year.


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.

Jonathan Kindron, Individual Giving Manager
Prior to working for BDL, Jonathan served as Festival Chair and fundraiser for Boston Pride, which organizes the annual Pride Parade, Festival, and other events across the city. Jonathan also spent more than 8 years working for the U.S. State Department, where he helped customers traveling abroad secure travel documents in a multicultural environment. Having studied international relations at Syracuse University, Jonathan spent two semesters studying in Latin America and speaks Spanish.  Jonathan seeks to engage the community in BDL’s mission and increase support for our organization.

Director of Operations Kimberly Bartlett
Kimberly Bartlett-Ra, Director of Operations
Kimberly joined the Boston Debate League as the Director of Operations in July 2015. In this role, Kimberly manages the human resources, finance, and IT functions of the organization. Previously, Kimberly was the founding Director of Operations at Brooke Charter School’s Mattapan campus for four years.  Kimberly’s prior experience includes working at a small company in Chicago providing outdoor adventure and service summer programs for teenagers and working at a nonprofit social enterprise organization in San Francisco providing job training and job placement services to adults with mental health disabilities. Kimberly earned her Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and her Master of Business Administration from Yale University. Kimberly also completed two terms of service with AmeriCorps*NCCC in the Southeast Region.

Ranner Faugas, Operations Associate
Ranner is an alumnus of the BDL After-School Debate League. Ranner has maintained a strong relationship with the BDL over the last several years, and he served as a lead intern at the organization during the summer of 2014. Ranner joined the BDL as a full-time staff member in June 2015 after graduating from UMASS Boston with a degree in Economics and Philosophy. Ranner is the Operations Associate, working closely with the Director of Operations to provide HR and IT support to staff and to manage financial recording and processing.

Board of Directors

John Isaacson (Chair): President, Isaacson Miller

Carol Bahr: Senior Vice President, State Street Bank and Trust

Mary Dibinga: English Teacher and Debate Coach, Boston Latin Academy

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

Milind Godbole: Managing Director and Vice-President, Sapient

Elbert Hardeman: Business Manager, The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Kevin O’Laughlin: Principal, KPMG

Matt Schnall: Partner, WilmerHale

Naia Wilson: Headmaster, New Mission High School





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