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 underserved urban youth in St. Louis.

St. Louis Public Schools

Since 2008, SLUDL has delivered programming to multiple St. Louis Public Schools.  We have active involvement in the following 10 schools:

Carr Lane Middle School: Barrett Taylor, Principal; Josie Johnston and Nikki DeLeo, Coaches

Central Visual & Performing Arts High School: Dr Kacy Seals, Principal; Matthew Reid, Coach

Cleveland NJROTC Academy: Dr Victoria Shearing, Principal; John Essington, Coach

Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience: Frederick Steele, Principal; Deborah Riggs and Anthony Cantu, Coaches

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

Clyde C. Miller Career Academy: Michael Brown, Principal; Lauren Gentsch, Coach

Gateway STEM High School: Steven Clay, Principal; Marie Lucero, Coach

McKinley Classical Junior Academy Middle School:Steve Warmack, Principal; Kelli Rao and Amy Hemmer, Coaches

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

Charles E. Sumner High School: Michael Triplett, Principal; Gwendolyn Jiles, Coach

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

St. Louis Urban Debate League Staff

Tamara L. Boyd, Executive Director 

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!

He 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, Programming Intern
AJ is currently a student at St Louis University, pursuing a bachelor of science in biology. He will graduate in May 2017 and wishes to continue on to 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 has participated in multiple club activities including ultimate Frisbee, soccer, and martial arts. He is an alumnus of SLUDL and Metro Classical Academy. Prior to joining SLUDL in a formal capacity in November 2014, he judged regularly at SLUDL events. When not studying or participating in these activities, Ajinkya enjoys watching movies, reading, and writing books.

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

Chairman of the Board • Mary H. Karr • Senior Vice President and General Counsel • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Vice Chair • Pat Esserman • Commerce Bank, retired

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

Other board members include:

Felicia Campbell • Parent of Debater • Normandy Schools Collaborative

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

Scott Jensen • Communication and Journalism Department Faculty • Webster University

Andrew Johnson • Attorney-at-Law • Littler Mendelson, PC

Joseph Kilpatrick • Partner • Husch Blackwell LLP

National Association for Urban Debate Leagues

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