Meet the SLUDL Team

The St. Louis Urban Debate League brings together an active community of students, teachers, administrators, and community leaders devoted to improving the academic and life skills of youth attending urban-St. Louis schools.


Since 2008, SLUDL has been delivering programming to multiple Saint Louis Public Schools and one public Charter school, including the following:

Carr Lane Middle School: Barrett Taylor, Principal; Coach TBD

Central Visual & Performing Arts High School: Dr. Kacy Seals, Principal; James Korte, Coach

Cleveland NJROTC Academy: Dr. Victoria Shearing, Principal; Coach TBD

Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience: Frederick Steele, Principal; Deborah Riggs, Head Coach; Carmen McDavid, Assistant Coach

Compton-Drew Middle School: Susan Reid, Principal; Jacqueline Person, Head Coach

Confluence (Charter) Preparatory Academy: Michael Powers, Principal; David Dickerson, Coach

Clyde C. Miller Career Academy: Michael Brown, Principal; Jason Criveau, Coach

Fanning Middle School: Lisa M. Brown, Principal; Jay D. Mitchell, Coach

Gateway Middle School: Nakia King, Principal

Gateway STEM High School: Dr. Amy Phillips, Principal; Lauren E. Gentsch and Marie Lucero, Coaches

McKinley Classical Junior Academy Middle School:Steve Warmack, Principal; Kelli Rao, Head Coach; Jacob Lewis, Assistant Coach

McKinley Classical Leadership Academy : Steve Warmack, Principal; Kelli Rao, Coach

Metro Academic & Classical High School: Dr. Wilfred Moore, Principal; Colyn Gremaud and Laura Trieschmann, Coaches

Northwest Academy of Law: Valerie Carter-Thomas, Pincipal

Charles E. Sumner High School: Michael Triplett, Principal

Roosevelt High School: Josh Henning, Principal

Soldan International Studies High School: Dr. Thomas Cason, Principal; Skye Reichert, Coach

Vashon High School: June Berry, Principal


Tamara L. Boyd, Executive Director                                                                                Tamara has over 27 years of development and nonprofit management experience, five years of teaching experience, and has served on a multitude of volunteer Boards and committees. She started volunteering for nonprofit organizations and planning fundraising events in the fifth grade when she hosted her first Back Yard Carnival (in her front yard for better visibility) for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She continued giving her time to organizations throughout middle school, high school, and college. Tamara had the pleasure of volunteering for the NU Dance Marathon all four years of college.  At the time, it was the largest student-run fundraising event in the nation and still ranks in the top five.

Tamara graduated with a B.S. in Theatre from Northwestern University in 1989 and studied theatre in London, leaving to move to a much sunnier Carribbean climate on St. Thomas to teach theatre to children living in poverty. After loosing her apartment to Hurricane Hugo, Tamara returned to St. Louis to continue her lifelong commitment to nonprofits and to begin one to her husband, Dennis. Tamara has worked in St. Louis for all but the first three months of her entire professional career, believing it is the best place in the world to raise a family. She is active in her children’s schools and loves working with students professionally and in a volunteer capacity.  After her children have started college, Tamara plans to pursue a master’s degree.

In high school, Tamara competed in Lincoln Douglas debate and in several Public Speaking and Interpretation events for Parkway South High and she was a Thespian. She believes participation in these types of activities is essential for a well-rounded education, and that the academic and personal lessons learned from engagement in speech and debate practices, activities, and tournaments are invaluable and life-changing for all students. 

Shawn Briscoe, Program Director
Shawn has been involved with competitive debate since 1990 and is an ardent believer in the educational merits of interscholastic forensics. To that effect, he authored the article Forensics Education: Enhancing Civic Literacy and Democracy, for Principal Leadership in May 2009, wrote the textbook Policy Debate: A Guide for High School and College Debaters, and was the lead author and editor of Why Debate: Transformed by Academic Discourse. He believes the activity promotes authentic learning of concepts at the heart of the standard curriculum, while doing so in a unique environment that is competitive, cooperative, social, and extremely fun!

Shawn has coached and taught at both the high school and the collegiate levels and he has been heavily involved in promoting debate and coaching development throughout Alaska and China. His philosophy that the activity should primarily be about promoting growth and education, while secondarily being a fun activity for students has proven competitively successful for students.  Over the years, he has coached multiple students to team and individual state championships — as well as national-level awards — in policy debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, congressional debate, and extemporaneous speaking.  He also was the assistant coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage during the team’s rise to a #9 world ranking, which was achieved while advancing three teams to elimination rounds at the World Universities Debating Championships in 2011 & 2012. He has a B.S. in Political Science from the US Air Force Academy (’98), an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma (’04), and an M.A. in Teaching with an emphasis in social studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage (’07).

Ajinkya Kokate, Program Associate
AJ graduated from St. Louis University in May of 2017 with a B. S. in Biology. He plans to attend medical school. Having shadowed multiple doctors and scientists to experience the various fields within the medical profession, he hopes to pursue a career in surgery.

AJ is also an alumnus of SLUDL and Metro Classical Academy.  He participated in multiple club activities including ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and martial arts. Prior to joining SLUDL in a formal capacity in November of 2014, he judged regularly at SLUDL events. Ajinkya also enjoys watching movies, reading, and writing books.

The St. Louis Urban Debate League’s Board of Directors, a committed group of professionals from St. Louis’ legal, corporate, nonprofit, and education communities, supports the League’s efforts through planning and advocacy, coordinating staff, and private fundraising.

Chairman of the Board • Mary H. Karr • Attorney

Co-Vice Chair • Andrew Johnson • Attorney-at-Law • Littler Mendelson, PC

Co-Vice Chair • Joseph Kilpatrick • Partner • Husch Blackwell LLP

Treasurer & Secretary • Philip G. Louis, Jr. • Partner • Armstrong Teasdale LLP


Felicia Campbell • Parent of SLUDL Alumna • Normandy Schools Collaborative

Kathleen Farrell, PhD • Communications Department Faculty, Saint Louis University • Retired

Scott Jensen • Professor of Sports Communication and Speech Communication Studies and former Director of Forensics • Webster University

Latieke M. Lyles • Counsel • Macy’s, Inc.

Laura McAllister • Director of Corporate Communications • Maritz

NAUDL – National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

NAUDL supports the 22 urban debate leagues around the country, and hosts the Urban Debate National Championship Tournament every spring. Their mission is to facilitate the participation in organized debate activities for as many urban debate students as possible.