MEET OUR

Coaches

NICOLE DALTON

SPEECH & DEBATE COACH

Nicole has been part of the speech & debate community for 18 years. She competed all 4 years of high school in TN, and along with winning numerous local awards, she also earned two State Champion titles, 1st Place at the Emory Barkley Tournament, and a 3rd Place National finalist title in Humorous Interpretation at NSDA. Nicole then went on to receive a scholarship for speech & debate at Seton Hall University. While earning her BA, she competed in college speech and earned a 5th Place National finalist title in Prose Interpretation at NFA along with quarter final rounds in After Dinner Speaking and Dramatic Interp at AFA. 

Nicole went on to attend Brandeis University for a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting. While in Boston, she began coaching a high school team, and discovered her joy for coaching. 

After receiving her MFA, Nicole moved to Los Angeles and began coaching students of all ages, ranging from elementary to college. Over the years, students have gone on to win several final, semi final, and quarter final rounds at the Berkeley tournament, Yale tournament, Glenbrooks tournament, Arizona State tournament, State championships, the NIETOC, and the National Speech & Debate Tournament. Nicole is also proud to be the head coach of the award winning speech & debate programs at Flintridge Preparatory and Westridge School.

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ARTHUR HARRIS

SPEECH & DEBATE COACH & CREATIVE WRITING COACH

Arthur got involved in Speech & Debate in 2013, and has continued to part of the community competing, coaching, or judging for the last 8 years. In high school, he competed in several different event, including Congressional Debate, Impromptu Speaking, Lincoln Douglas, Public Forum Debate, and Extemporaneous. He also participated in several school plays, making him qualified to coach interpretation events as well. Throughout his time in high school, he earned multiple final round trophies in his specialty events: Impromptu and Congressional. In 2017, Arthur competed in the California State Championship Tournament in Impromptu and at the National Speech & Debate Tournament in Congressional Debate.

Arthur's focus shifted from competition to other endeavors after graduating from Flintridge Prep and moving on to Grinnell College. He proudly participated in and took leadership of the DAG organization. Recently, he graduated, attaining his BA in English, with an emphasis in creative writing. Through all of this, his love of Speech Debate never changed. 

Arthur has assisted in coaching at Flintridge Preparatory School, Westridge School, and other after school programs. He has tutored in writing since 2016 and has judged numerous speech & debate tournaments over the past 6 years. He is happy to be working alongside his former coach and the rest of the staff and is excited to share his love of Speech & debate at the Speech & Debate Institute.  

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MAGGIE WOODWARD

SPEECH & DEBATE COACH & CREATIVE WRITING COACH

Maggie has been involved in the Speech & Debate community since 2004. As a high school student, she competed in several different events such as Original Oratory, Duo Interp, and Lincoln Douglas Debate. She attained numerous final round trophies from local and national tournaments around the country. Maggie was the 2008 Tennessee State Champion and a National Speech & Debate Association semi finalist in Original Oratory.

While completing her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing & English, she competed in Persuasion and Informative for Western Kentucky University's nationally-ranked collegiate Speech & Debate team. In 2017, she earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. 

During her time in college, Maggie started to explore her passion for coaching. She worked as an instructor and curriculum director at multiple summer forensics institutes, and currently spends her summers as the Director of ISD's Oratory and Informative Speaking division.

Students she have coached have been finalists or champions in events such as Congressional Debate, Original Oratory, Extemporaneous, and Informative at Yale, Harvard, Emory, the Tournament of Champions, Wake Forest, Bronx Science, and the grand Nationals Speech & Debate tournament. Maggie is proud to be an assistant coach at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Canada, CA. 

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SOLON TAN

SPEECH & DEBATE COACH

Solon first joined the Speech and Debate community in 2013 as a freshman in high school. He competed in multiple events such as International and Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu, Congressional Debate, Parliamentary Debate, and Original Advocacy. Solon was a finalist at multiple local and national tournaments and concluded his senior year as a national Semi-Finalist in Extemporaneous Speaking at the National Speech & Debate tournament in June. 

Solon attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, and attained a degree in Political Science and Chinese while working as a legal assistant at the Ferreira Law Group for 3 years. He was also active on campus by serving leadership positions in student organizations and taking on community service opportunities. 

Since graduating in 2021, Solon has coached for several speech and debate institutions with competitive middle and high school students at the local and national levels. He is currently coaching at Sequoyah School, and within 2 months of starting his coaching position at Sequoyah, his high school team won the HSPDP Championship tournament. He is proud to be a part of the S&D Institute coaching staff and looks forward to continuing his career. 

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JEFF NIEMIEC

SPEECH & DEBATE COACH (Zoom)

Jeffrey started competing within the speech and debate community as a fifth grader to overcome speaking speed and articulation issues. His small Northeast Pennsylvania team offered an education in public communication he couldn’t get elsewhere, and working to improve his natural, everyday speaking skills led to a breakthrough in the competition space that resulted in local and regional awards. Once in high school, Jeffrey competed all four years, earning qualifications to Pennsylvania States and Nationals for events like Original Oratory, DUO, Congress, Radio Announcing, and Informative. 

Attending Wilkes University on a speech and debate scholarship, he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2010. He was a Pennsylvania State Finalist in both Persuasion and Informative multiple times throughout his college career, and qualified to AFA, NFA, and PKD Nationals all four years of his college career. He has broken to quarterfinals or better at all three previously mentioned collegiate national tournaments. 

Jeffrey has now been actively involved with speech and debate for 23 years, coaching for 16 of them. Throughout his tenure as head coach of multiple teams, he has coached High School State Champions (both in Pennsylvania and California), as well as high school quarterfinalist, semifinalists, and finalists across all major high school national competitions including NSDA, ToC, CFL, and NIETOC. 

Coach Jeff has recently moved to TN and is available for private zoom coaching for all experience levels in speech, congress, and public speaking. 

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