[Ndca-l] Educator of the Year Ballot - Please Vote!

Nicole Serrano nicole.serrano
Fri Mar 25 19:26:46 EDT 2011

Hello Membership,

We had a lot of great nominees for Educator of the Year; the NDCA
Board has the following slate of 5 for y'all to choose from. Please
choose one of the following nominees for the NDCA?s Educator of
the Year.  Individual members (both annual and lifetime) and
Institutional Members all receive a vote.  Please return the ballot
via email (or just email the name of your vote) to Nicole at
nicole.serrano at gmail.com by Monday, April 11 at 6pm CST .  Nominees
are listed in alphabetical order.

The Educator of the Year award is intended for an individual who has
made a substantial impact on the high school debate community through
their service, commitment, and teaching.  Not merely a teacher or
coach to their own students, this individual should truly define what
it means to be an educator to the community at large. The NDCA?s goal
is to strengthen the ability of coaches, across all regions and styles
of debate, with a meaningful learning experience for their debaters.

Your Name _____________________________________

2011 Nominees
______ Josh Brown, Homewood-Flossmoor (IL)
______ Jeremy Martin, Westwood (TX)
______ Tracy McFarland, Jesuit College Prep (TX)
______ Dana Randall, Carrollton Sacred Heart (FL)
______ Aaron Timmons, Greenhill School (TX)

Nominating Statements are below

Thank you,
Nicole & the NDCA Board

______ Josh Brown, Homewood-Flossmoor (IL)
 ?Although Josh might seem like a presence in the debate community as
only a coach to his own students, I feel that he brings a disposition
to tournaments and an approach to debate that needs to be recognized.
I think he's been an underrated coach and an under-appreciated figure
in debate for many years. He's committed through his tournament (which
has now changed dates and become a TOC qualifier) to local Illinois
debate, and he's built up a strong program at Homewood-Flossmoor made
of sound arguers and well-rounded students. I think he is a great
coach and an essential part of national policy debate.?

______ Jeremy Martin, Westwood (TX)
?Mr. Martin came to Westwood at a time when many of us were lost as to
the direction the program would go after the retirement of Alex
Pritchard. However Mr. Pritchard didn't leave us in poor hands as he
recommended Jeremy Martin to take his spot as sole head coach of our
large program. Since I first met Mr. Martin I knew he loved debate and
the community of great people it creates. This dedication and love is
what helped him overcome the challenges of taking over a large program
and helped him have a lasting impact on the community. Right from the
start Mr. Martin took over our program and the challenge of teaching
over 150 Freshman all alone. He successfully handled the freshman with
ease all the while encouraging our varsity squad to get involved in
teaching the freshman in our spare time after school.   Not only did
our transition go smoothly but he also expanded the scope of our
program by adding a Public Forum squad and expanding our LD and Extemp
teams by securing funding to hire previously nonexistent assistant
coaches. Mr. Martin's love for debate is not only experienced by those
immediately involved in the Westwood debate program but also the wider
community of debaters as well. Beginning with our highschool community
Mr. Martin worked to fight the school district and its rules that
limited our teams ability to not only travel to tournaments but our
ability to pay for these trips. Through this crusade he fronted many
meetings with not only our principal but district representatives to
stress the education and importance of debate. Risking his credibility
as a new teacher and using much of his spare time he worked to stress
the educational benefits of a debate program to the community and
encouraged us as students to get involved in fighting for our right to
continue debating. Even now he is still involved in asking the
debaters and local leaders to get involved to save debate programs as
the Texas state budget crisis risks many Texas public school debate
programs and even his job as it is seen as purely "extra-curricular".
Specifically I can remember one day in class where Mr. Martin decided
that we had to "talk" about our future. He went on to explain that the
budget crisis was a real threat to our program but that it should not
become something to worry about because we were going to secure our
own future. He told us that that nights homework was to write an essay
explaining the benefits and personal impacts of the debate  program so
he could draft them in a letter to the superintendent and local law
makers. While we still don't know the future of the program many of us
for the first time had time to contemplate the impacts of our program
and what debate truly is to a community and many of us feel that the
pure commitment to debate that Mr. Martin demonstrates can only be a
positive influence for Texas lawmakers and the school district as they
decide the fate of debate and other "extra-curricular" activities.
Likewise Martin communicates with the regional coaches to help in
promising debate for all students that are at risk for losing their
program. Outside our community it is clear to us as his debaters that
Mr. Martin's influence on the broader community of debate is extremely
important. The connection is exemplified by Mr. Martin's ability to
network and connect to virtually everyone in debate. More specifically
coaches and older debaters still involved always seem to know who he
is and vice versa he is able to talk about almost anyone that might be
judging or around us at national tournaments. This comes from his
strong belief in connecting to the community of debate. I remember a
specific moment from class when we got off on a tangent about judging
and Mr. Martin began to explain his belief that making connections to
the debate community was more important that winning or losing. He
further explained that when we are judged and when we debate people
our goal should first off be to make a friendly connection to those
people  instead of becoming hostile or as he put it "burn-bridges"
with those around us and the schools they are affiliated with. In the
end he wanted us to know that no matter how "good" of debater we were,
the connections to those we make will always matter and last longer
than your record at some tournament. This has also had a significant
impact on myself in my sophomore year of debate, because that year I
had a problem with being overly aggressive in both cross ex but also
with interaction with teams I might have lost to. I remember  Mr.
Martin pulled me aside at a tournament to talk about my problem and in
a non-confrontational way he explained the worst thing I could do to
myself is to seem angry all the time. His talk helped me to understand
that the community is the most important aspect of debating and that
when I make these debates non-confrontational they become more
beneficial to everyone in the room as they become more about the
education and not the competition. The influence of his ideals can
easily be experienced in his dedication to judging as all the lessons
our team has learned have at some point been shared in a RFD, after a
round or in a lecture either at camp or in the classroom.

______ Tracy McFarland, Jesuit College Prep (TX)
 ?Tracy faithlessly serves the debate community in all of its
incarnations as a judge, a lab leader, a member of the NDCA, and a
Board member of the Dallas UDL.
As one of the most preferred judges in the country, Tracy not only
decides rounds objectively but puts a concerted effort into talking to
students of all levels in the post round about the technical issues of
the debate and larger debate theory. She is unique in her desire and
attention to teaching even weaker debaters about basic concepts.
Her attention to teaching is just part of the reason she also teaches
the larger debate community tirelessly during the summer at summer
As a member of the NDCA Board, and later a chair, Tracy worked on
various projects including a restructuring of the NDCA board, creating
a smoother transition cycle between board members, and a website
As much as Tracy serves the national community, she also serves her
local community as a member of the Board for the Dallas UDL. She has
organized and taught bi-monthly student training sessions, created a
mentor program, produced lesson plans for the coaches, and run tab at
Tracy is unique in that she is a hands-on coach of a very successful
debate team and also volunteers her time to reach out to students of
all levels of debate. It is hard for me to imagine someone who better
embodies the ideas of Educator of the Year. ?

?Tracy truly embodies the Educator of Year award.  She teaches a full
course load of AP Government, AP Comparative Politics, International
Relations, and Government courses at Jesuit and also teaches one night
a week at the college level.  She is VP for Programming on the board
of the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance and has been instrumental in
facilitating summer workshops for students and coaches, a monthly
debate center, and she has been the tabroom director for numerous
tournaments.  She promotes other programs, coaches, and debaters as
much as she promotes her own team.  She is the past chair of the NDCA
board and was very involved in several projects that we now take for
granted.  While coaching and teaching at Jesuit, she has coached teams
to success at all levels of competition including back to back Texas
TFA State Championships.  Tracy is one of the most well respected
judges and teachers in the country and is a true "women for others. ?

______ Dana Randall, Carrollton Sacred Heart (FL)
?Dana runs one of the top high school programs in the country. In
addition to directing all aspects of this program, she also runs one
of the most extensive debate service programs as well. Dana instituted
a service program where every Saturday she and members of her team
that are not traveling teach to young, underprivileged women in the
Miami area. They provide the young women a working knowledge of policy
making and then teach them to debate. She also created a program that
sends care packages monthly to soldiers deployed in war zones on
behalf of the United States. When these activities are not keeping her
busy, she has taught in one of the best Sophomore Labs in the country
the last four years. She maintains contact with each of these students
and I can see the impact that she has had on them at any tournament
that attend.
Dana gives everything that she has to the debate community. She works
tirelessly, offers students debate opportunities at every turn and
helps to educated the entire person- not just the debate side. With
all of this on her plate, she has still managed in only 3 years as a
Director to coach the Top Speaker at the TOC , a team to quarterfinals
of the TOC and a team to Semi- Finals. She has had a finalist for the
Julia Burke Award and played host to the NDCA on her home turf for one
of it's first national championships. I am biased. This I know. But I
also know that Dana is everything an educator should be- committed to
her craft, fierce in her competition, loving and kind to all students
and an excellent role model for young women in an increasingly
challenging environment for them.?

______ Aaron Timmons, Greenhill School (TX)
?There are no coaches that I feel emulate what this activity should be
about more so than Aaron Timmons.  Aaron is outstanding contributor to
the community both from his teaching/coaching and through his service.
 Aaron actively and effectively engages and coaches his students both
in policy and Lincoln-Douglas, which is a rarity on the national
circuit.  His input has a judge is still highly valued in both
communities as well.   Colleagues continue to learn as they watch
Aaron coach his own kids.  Through his intensity, a coach can still
see how highly Aaron values educational goals for his students as well
as creative, critical thinking.
Aside from his coaching prowess, Aaron has constantly given back tot
he community.  Aaron has served as a previous Board member for the
National Debate Coaches Association.  The creation of the Open
Evidence project, which has been hailed by many in the community as
one of the most "equalizing" actions the national circuit community
has taken, was Aaron's brain child.  Aaron has also been actively
involved in the Texas Forensics Association, National Forensic League
committees, and the NFHS policy debate topic committee to list a few.?

?No one can argue with Mr. Timmons' success over the past two decades
building Greenhill into a dominant national program in both Lincoln
Douglas and Policy Debate.  His students leave high school not only
with a list of accolades but also with the writing, speaking and
critical thinking skills that allow them to excel in college and
beyond. For many of us, it is in his classroom where we are truly
challenged for the first time and catch a glimpse of what is
attainable if we are willing to commit ourselves to the pursuit of
In my mind, Mr. Timmons is set apart by the fact his mentoring is not
solely confined to his students. He reaches out to students and young
coaches throughout the debate community. Each year Mr. Timmons uses
his position in the debate community as an opportunity to reach out to
those who are less privileged. This service takes a number of forms
ranging from waiving fees for those who have trouble affording his
tournament to offering his coaching services to low income programs.
Last year, his hours of volunteering helped a student from inner-city
Philadelphia compete and excel at many national tournaments.
In an activity where many coaches transition in and out after a few
years, Mr. Timmons has remained a constant. While always a fierce
competitor, his long term involvement in the activity allows Mr.
Timmons to advocate not only for the best interest of his team but
also for the best interest of the activity. Mr. Timmons has been
instrumental in improving the overall judge quality in LD by
advocating for MJP and publicly available judge philosophies.
Mr. Timmons is an educator for the community, an educator for coaches,
and thus, an obvious choice for educator of the year.

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