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; Coach: Rane Baldwin.
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, and Roger Nix.
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
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.
Michelle Aghiarian, Administrative Associate
Michelle joined the Boston Debate League in February 2014 as the Administrative Associate. She is responsible for providing office administration support in areas such as development, programming, communications, and event logistics. Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has diverse internship and work experience ranging from academic peer advising at UMass Amherst to educating visitors at Old Sturbridge Village. She enjoys contributing to the positive impact Boston Debate League creates with the community.
Sarah Amaral, Corporate Relations Manager
Sarah is the Corporate 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. With BDL, Sarah continues to do what she is truly passionate about. Her 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 sustain volunteer retention on a large scale. With the BDL, Michelle continues to work in the field she is passionate about, engaging citizens from around the community in schools to bolster student success.
Tanya Bogina, Director of Operations
Tanya joined the Boston Debate League in January 2012. She is responsible for developing systems and procedures aimed at improving the efficiency and scalability of BDL’s programs. Tanya brings more than five years of experience working in financial services at JPMorgan and Brown Brothers & Harriman. She received an MBA at Yale University’s School of Management and a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Boston University.
Lydia Carbone, Grants 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 worked in several urban areas – New York City, Newark, Phoenix, she has vacationed in some remote areas such as southern and western Africa, curiously noticing the similarities and differences in challenges faced by people in different places.
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 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 speak presentation, and in Economics with a concentration in financial management.
Brett Flater, Director of After-School Programs
Brett joined the Boston Debate League in August 2014. Brett brings over 10 years of experience in education, having been a middle and high school teacher in Los Angeles, California and having worked for multiple national educational non-profits. As a student at Emory University in Atlanta, Brett became actively involved in urban debate leagues. His experience sparked his passion to work with remarkable teachers, students and school leaders across the country to ensure all students have access to a rigorous education. Brett received his B.A. in Political Science and his M.A. in secondary education from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, California.
Mike Liang, After-School Program Manager
Mike is a Program Manager for the Boston Debate League’s After School Debate League. His main responsibility is assisting coaches in high schools throughout the league build strong and impactful debate programs. He debated competitively in high school, and attributes a large portion of his academic success to his debate experience. Mike previously worked in Boston Public Schools at Excel High School in South Boston, teaching Physics, Engineering, and Computer Science. He co-founded Excel Debate there in 2010.
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.
Lynne Reznick, EBA Instructional Coach
Lynne is 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 at the school and district levels. In her move to Boston, Lynne spent the 2013-2014 school 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 Associate
Anna is a Boston Debate League alumna. She was among one of the first interns hired by the BDL and has remained passionate about the league throughout her undergrad career. She joined the organization as a full time staff person 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.
Marisa Suescun, Director of EBA Programs
Marisa is the Director of 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. 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.
Veronica Switzer, Talent Acquisition Manager
Veronica is the Talent Acquisition Manager for the BDL. Her responsibilities include recruiting staff and identifying Board members that will support and grow the work of the BDL and curriculum development in Boston Public Schools. Veronica debated competitively in high school and continued debating competitively at the collegiate level while completing her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University. Before joining BDL, Veronica worked as the International Programs Coordinator for a faith based non-profit in Boston. Before that, Veronica studied governance issues in Zambia on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Shannon Watson, After-School Program Manager
Shannon is the Program Manager for the Boston Debate League’s After School Debate League. Shannon has over 5 years’ experience working with urban debate leagues and developing youth. Her experience working with young people in the Atlanta Urban Debate League has inspired her efforts to educate students through debate. She is alum of the Baltimore Urban Debate League and received a debate scholarship to Georgia State University where she received her B.S. in Urban Policy. She is currently continuing her education at Northeastern University studying for her Master’s in Organizational and Corporate Communication
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