Learn more about our talented coaching team here!

Benjamin Hagwood
Our Director of Debate, Benjamin Hagwood is an award winning coach with 20+ years of experience. During his career he has led middle, high school and college students to individual and team competitive success. Benjamin is the former assistant director of Liberty University where they produced seven (7) national titles during his tenure. His students have championed tournaments such as: Stanford, Georgetown, Harvard and University of Pittsburgh and countless others.  

Our Talented Team

Asif Mehedi
Education : North South University, Marketing
Experience : 11+ years of competitive debate experience & 8+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Coached in Bangladesh National School Team (WSDC) 3 years, the team reached the Quarter-finals and the Octo-finals.
  • Coached 5 national championships.
  • President of the Bangladesh Debating Council for many years.
  • Champion of 30+ national tournaments as a school and University debater in Bangladesh
  • World Universities Debating Championship, Finalist, ESL Category, 2020
  • Top 10 Speakers in Asia, 2019
  • Asian Semifinalist, 2017 and 2019
Coaching Style : Motivating, Hard-working, Analytical
Jackie Massey
Education : Bachelor and Master Degree in Communications
Experience : Highly decorated debate coach with almost four decades of experience
Description :
  • Founder and former director of the University of Oklahoma debate program, where his teams won four national championships, multiple top speaker awards, and numerous other top finishes.
  • Coached at the University of Vermont and Eastern New Mexico University, where his team won the national championship.
  • Experienced in a wide variety of debate formats, including Public Forum, British Parliamentary, Lincoln Douglas, and Cross-Examination.
  • Author of the critical debaters handbook.
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Akifuzzaman Labib
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Experience : 5+ years of competitive debate experience & 2+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Quarter-finalist at Qatar pre-WSDC 2020
  • Hong Kong WSDC 2021
  • Best novice speaker at Asian schools debate champion Thailand 2018.
  • Won 10+ national tournaments with 20+ individual speaker awards.
Coaching Style : Supportive, observant, encouraging
Bishal
Bishal Podder
Bishal
Education : UBC Sauder School of Business
Experience : 10+ years of competitive debate experience & 7+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • 2023 National Team Coach for World Schools Debating Championships(WSDC) for Team Armenia
  • 2022 National Team Coach for World Schools Debating Championships(WSDC) for Team Bangladesh (Open Quarterfinalist)
  • 2022 Hart House Intervarsity (HHIV) debate competition Semifinalists
  • 2022 CUSID BP Champs Open Finalist
  • 2021 National Team Coach for World Schools Debating Championships(WSDC) for Team Bangladesh (Open Octo-finalist)
  • 2021 Doxbridge Worlds Open Octo-finalist
  • 2020 Finalist at Lord Discord Cup
  • 2020 National Team Coach for World Schools Debate Championships Team Bangladesh
  • 2020 Novice Champion at USC IV
  • 2020 Finalist at Lord Discord Cup
  • 2019 Finalist & 2nd Best Speaker at West Coast Novice Championship: Finalist & 2nd top Speaker
  • 2019 2nd Top Speaker at Hugill Cup
  • 2018 Quarterfinalist at World Schools Debate Championships
  • 2018 Finalist & 3rd Top Speaker at Asian-British Parliamentary
  • 2018 Quarterfinalist at Kolkata NAT University of Juridical Sciences
Skills: Prep Time, Strategy, POIs, Delivery
Coaching Style : Setting clear objectives, Team spirit, Welcoming questions, Engaging, Understanding
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Bobo Wong
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Education : UBC: Bachelor + Master of Management Dual Degree
Experience : 6+ years of competitive debate experience & 5+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Co-Captain & Coach of Sir Winston Churchill Debate Club (2018-2019)
  • UBC Debate Society: Vice President External (2020-2021)
  • 2019 West Coast Novice Debating Championships: Finalist Team & 3rd Top Speaker
  • 2019 Hart House Inter-varsity (HHIV): Novice Finalist Team and 6th Top Novice Speaker
  • 2019 Hugill Cup: 3rd Top Novice Speaker
  • 2020 University of Calgary CP ProAms: Champion Team, Top Novice Speaker, and 3rd Top Open Speaker
  • 2020 University of Southern California Inter-varsity (USC IV): Novice Champion Team
  • 2020 Lord Discord Cup: Novice Finalist Team
  • 2020 UBC Fundraiser Open: 2nd Top Novice Speaker, 10th Top Open Speaker
  • 2020 Doxbridge Inter-varsity: 20th Breaking Open Octofinalist Team
  • 2021 University of Calgary CP ProAms: Deputy Chief Adjudicator
  • 2021 Represented the UBC Debate Society at Korea Worlds University Debating Championships (WUDC)
  • 2021 Hart House Inter-varsity (HHIV): 17th place Open Team
  • 2022 Hart House Inter-varsity (HHIV): 7th Breaking Open Team, Open Semi-finalist, and 9th Top Open Speaker
  • 2022 Canadian British Parliamentary Championships: 3rd Breaking Open Team and Finalist
Coaching Style : Adaptable, Detail-oriented, Drills>Lectures
Dasnoor Kaur
Education : UBC, Pharmaceutical Sciences student
Experience : 5+ years of competitive debate experience & 2+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Head Coach at Semiahmoo Debate Club (2022-2023)
  • Successfully coached 3 teams to the Law Foundation Cup
  • Quarterfinalist and 4th place speaker at 47th Harvard National Forensics 2021
  • Internationals Quarterfinalist at Tournament of Champions 2022
  • Passion about debate : Debate gives us the opportunity to explore and learn about so many different topics - from parenting to global economics - which is one of the most intriguing parts about debate but is also really beneficial as it helps expand an individual's general knowledge of the world. Additionally, the debate community is amazing; everyone is dedicated and eager to pursue knowledge, creating an inspirational yet friendly environment. While it may require a lot of hard work, students gain so many skills, such as public speaking, that are needed to succeed in the workforce.
Coaching Style : patient, adaptable, engaging, Committed to success
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Debojyoti Biswas 
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Education : UBC Bachelor of Science in Physics
Experience : 6+ years of competitive debate experience & 4+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Quarterfinalist at World Schools Debate Championship WSDC, 2018
  • High School Champion and Best Speaker, Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship 2018
  • Captain of Team Bangladesh in WSDC 2019
  • Semi-Finalist and 2nd Best Speaker NUJS Parliamentary Debate Tournament 2019, India
  • Octo-Finalist and team captain of Asian World Schools Debate Championship 2019
  • 10+ National Level Speaker Awards in Bangladesh
  • Coach of Notre Dame College, Bangladesh for 1 year
  • Coach of Sunnydale School, Bangladesh for 2 year
Skills: Strategical Master, Critical Thinker, Case-builder
Coaching Style : personalized, relaxed but also strict if needed, highly encourage responses
Eliz Zhou
Education : Neurobiology and Data Science at UC Berkeley
Experience : 6+ years of competitive debate experience & 5+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • 2020 Puget Sound Invitational Quarterfinalist & 6th top speaker
  • 2019 Vice President and Coach of Richmond Christian Secondary Debate Team
  • 2019 Champion & 4th Top Speaker at Stanford Invitational Debate Tournament
  • 2019 Lower Mainland West Regionals Tournament 10th Top Speaker
  • 2018 6th Top Speaker at NSDA Nationals in Wuxi
  • 2018 Champion & Best Speaker at SFU PF
Skills: Strategy Specialist, Feedback Powerhouse, Master of Consistency.
Coaching Style : Detail-Oriented, Encouraging, Collaborative
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Emily Chen
emily-chen-coach
Education : Studying at UBC; Bachelor of Commerce
Experience : 7+ years of competitive debate experience (CNDF, PF, Worlds and BP) & 4+ years of coaching
Description :
  • UBC Debate Society Novice Representative 2022
  • 2022 Harthouse IV Novice Semi-Finalist
  • LMS Regionals 3-years Champion 2020-2022
  • Qualification to Canadian Nationals 2022
  • 2020 Harvard Invitational Semi-Finalist
  • 2020 Bluebonnet Octofinalist
Skills: Refutation Expert, Speech Delivery
Coaching Style : Approachable, Fun, Adaptable
Irene Mpofu Coach
Irene Mpofu
Irene Mpofu Coach
Education : Masters of Laws, University of Pretoria
Experience : 14+ years of competitive debate experience & 9+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • 2017 Senior provincial quarter finalists
  • 2017 provincial team speaker
  • 2017 SA national debate teams
  • 2017 SACEE champs’ finalists.
  • 2018 Roedean Senior and Junior debate coach
  • 2018 Senior provincial champions
  • 3 speakers selected for the provincial team
  • 5 speakers ranking in the top 10 Gauteng speakers
  • 2018 Sacee championship semi finalists (senior division)
  • 2020 Roedean Junior debate coach
  • 2020 SACEE champs plate break
  • 2020 Provincial Championships breaking team
  • 2021 Roedean Junior debate coach
  • 2021 SACEE champs breaking team
  • 2021 Provincial championships semi finalists
  • 2021 provincial team speaker
  • 2021 Isphahan international debate tournament finalists.
  • Exofficio Board member of the South African Schools debating board 2019-2021.
  • ESDC breaking judge 2022
Skills: Style specialist, Rejoined Responsive and refutation coach
Coaching Style : Encouraging, Communicative, Relaxed
Interest : Travelling, documentaries
Judy Jiang
Education : Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Southern California
Experience : 5+ years of competitive debate experience & 3+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • 2019 8th Top Speaker at Lower Mainland North Regionals
  • 2018 Semi-Finalist & 5th Top Speaker at UBC Summer
  • 2018 7th Top Speaker at SFU PF Tournament
  • 2018 8th Place Team at British Columbia Provincials
  • 2018 4th Place Team at Lower Mainland West Regionals
  • 2017 Best Diplomat Award at the University of Alberta High School Model United Nations
  • 2016 Gold Medalist for Poetry in the Provincial Speech Competition
  • 2015 Bronze Medalist at the United Nations Pilgrimage Speech and Debate Competition
Coaching Style : Communicative, Efficient, Friendly
Justin Li
Education : UBC, Sciences student
Experience : 8+ years of competitive debate experience & 1+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • President of the Debate Club at Point Grey Secondary (2022-2023), judged various VDA in-house and NSDA tournaments
  • 2022 TOC International Champion 2022 Harvard Double-octofinalist 2021 Georgetown Semifinalist 2021 Georgetown Top Speaker 2021 TOC International Quarterfinalist 2021 Stanford Octofinalist
Coaching Style : organized, encouraging, adaptable; in teams: competitive, fun.
Nathan Schwarz-Lee
Education : University of British Columbia: Bachelor of Arts in International Relations
Experience : 11+ years of competitive debate experience & 6+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Semi-Finalist at Seattle IV 2018 (open break was to quarters)
  • Semi-Finalist at UBC IV 2018
  • Semi-Finalist at Pacific Cup 2017
  • Semi-Finalist at West Coast Novice Championships 2015
Community Contribution:
  • President of the UBC Debate Society (2018-19)
  • Vice President Operations for UBCDS (2017-18)
    • Tabs Officer for Pacific Cup 2018
  • Selected to judge at WUDC for UBCDS (2019), broke as a judge to Finals and Novice Finals at UBC IV 2019
  • Chief Adjudicator (Junior) for the UBC Fall High School Tournament (2017) (I set motions and judged finals and out-rounds)
    • Deputy Chief Adjudicator for the same tournament in 2016
    • Judged at various Summer HST and Fall/Spring HSTs
  • Tabs Officer/Tournament Organizer for various VDA in-house tournaments starting in 2018
Skills: Argument Architect, Speech Craftsman, Encyclopedic Expert
Coaching Style : Calm, Collective, Creative
Olin Becker
Education : University of British Columbia Bachelor of Commerce
Experience : 9+ years of competitive debate experience & 3+ years of coaching experience
Description : Debate Awards:
  • Novice Finalist at Pacific Cup (2021)
  • Cambridge Intervarsity Top 10 Novice Speaker (2020)
  • Hugill Cup Top 5 Novice Speaker (2020)
  • Fall Open Western Novice Championship Champion and Top 3 Speaker (2020)
  • Represented UBC at the North American University Debating Championship (2020)
  • Alberta Debate Provincials Second Place Team and Top 5 Speaker (2019)
Community Contribution:
  • UBCDS VP External (2021)
  • UBC High School Tournament Equity Officer (2020)
  • William Aberhart High School Debate Team Founder and Coach (2019)
Skills: Logical Reasoning Pro, Strategy Strategist
Coaching Style : Flexible, Drill-Oriented, Encouraging
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Sreyan Kanungo
vancouver-debate-academy-coach-Sreyan
Education : Bachelor of Arts, Lean Startup Management, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Experience : 5+ years of competitive debate experience & 2+ years of coaching experience
Description :

Debate Awards:

  • 2022 Worlds Universities Debating Championship (Madrid), Open Octo-finalist
  • 2022 North American Debating Championships, Open Quarter Finalist
  • 2022 University of Vermont Debate Championship, Open Champion
  • 2022 Cornell University Debating Championship, Open Finalist
  • 2022 Western Regional Debating Championship, Open Finalist
  • 2021 Worlds Universities Debating Championship (Belgrade), Open Partial Octo-Finalist
  • 2021 Oxford University Debating Championships, Open Octo-Finalist
  • 2021 Manchester Debate Union Debating Championships, Open Quarter finalist
  • 2021 North American Universities Debating Championships, Open Quarter Finalist
  • 2020 Worlds Universities Debating Championship (South Korea), ESL Quarter Finalist
Coaching Experience
Coach, European Standard School 
Coach, Hobart and William Smith Colleges 
Junior Executive, Bangladesh Debating Council 
Independent Trainer, Colgate University, Cornell University, and University of Rochester. 
Sarah Zamponi
Education : International Relations and Sociology from Mount Allison University, and an MA in Political Science from UBC.
Experience : 7+ years of competitive debate experience & 5+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • Top speaker at the 2021 Canadian Parliamentary National Championships
  • Top breaking team at the 2021 Canadian Parliamentary National Championships
  • Champion of the 2020 Atlantic Championships
Community Contribution:
  • President of Mount Allison University’s debate society
  • Regional Vice President of CUSID
  • Organized a number of local debate tournaments
  • Recruited other clubs into CUSID, and coached/recruited novices!
Skills: Impromptu Impresario, Strategy Strategist, POI Prodigy
Coaching Style : Friendly, intensive, and practice-focused.
Stormee Massey
Education : University of Oklahoma, Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Russian & Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in English (Writing)
Experience : 9+ years of competitive debate experience & 6+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • NSDA Diamond Coaching Award 2022
  • NSDA Donus D. Roberts Coaching of Excellence Award Recipient 2021
  • VDA Coach Of The Year 2021
  • NSDA Lone Star District New Coach of the Year Recipient 2020
  • Recipient of the HEB ISD Education Foundation Award of Excellence 2018 & 2020
  • Coached Speech & Debate at Grapevine High School and Trinity High School in a variety of formats
Community Contribution:
  • Coached over 300 students at more than 100 tournaments in the past 6 years.
  • Coached Champions at tournaments ranging from local tournaments in Texas all the way to National tournaments at Ivy League Schools, including the Middle School Tournament of Champions in the 2022-2023 school year.
  • Coached three different teams at Trinity High School, Grapevine High School, and Vancouver Debate Academy.
  • Judged middle school, high school, and collegiate debates over the last 10 years.
  • Panelist in the finals of PF TOC Gold and PF Middle School NSDA Nationals in the 2022-2023 school year.
  • Served on the NSDA committee for the Texas Lone Star NSDA District from 2019-2021.
  • Hosted two tournaments, including the 2021 Grapevine Classic, with over 1,500 participants, coaches, and judges. First major tournament hosted on NSDA Campus.
Skills: Case-Building Prodigy, Evidence Wizard, Flow Master
Coaching Style : Organized, Fun, Efficient
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Tina Yong
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Education : University of British Columbia: Political Science Honour
Experience : 7+ years of competitive debate experience & 4+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • President of UBC Debate Society 
  • Represented UBC at the World University Debate Championships 
  • Champion of Hugill Cup 
  • Top Senior Speaker at Lower Mainland South Regional Championships 
  • Finalist at Yale IV
  • Fleetwood Park Debate Association president and coach
  • Stanford Championship double-octofinalists (2018)
  • UBC Fall High School Tournament Champion (2018)
  • FPSS Senior Speech Meet Champion (2018)
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Todd Pengelly
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Education : Hampshire College - BA in Literary Journalism, Minor in Race Relations
Experience : 4+ years of competitive debate experience & 3+ years of coaching experience
Description :
  • 2016 National Speech and Debate Tournament, Third Place in Worlds School 
  • 2016 Georgia Student Congress State, 2nd Place
  • 2015 Georgia Student Congress State, Finalist 
  • 2015 National Qualifier at Catholic Forensic League Nationals in Public Forum
  • Received recognition of Special Distinction by NSDA, top 5% in nation, top 3% in district
  • Debated and coached at Midtown High School, 13-year reigning champions for Speech and Debate Sweepstakes in the state of Georgia
     
Yashwant Katireddy VDA Coach
Yashwant Katireddy
Yashwant Katireddy VDA Coach
Education : UBC: BCom -Sauder School of Business
Experience : 5+ years of competitive debate experience & 4+ years of coaching experience
Description :
Experience:
- UBC Sauder JDC West 2022-23 Debate team
- UBC Sauder JDC West 2021-22 Debate team
- Debate Coach - Mount Douglas Secondary School Debate Team (2020-21)
- UBC Debate society (2021 - present)
- Public Speaking Coach - 848 Royal Canadian Air Cadets (2019-23)
- 4 years highschool debate experience, regional and provincial level
- 6 years public speaking experience, provincial level
Awards:
- First place Debate (JDC West 2023)
School of the Year (JDC West 2022)
- First place speaker award (Golden Gnome Debate Tournament 2019)
- First place (Golden Gnome Debate Tournament 2019)
- First place (Department of National Defence Regional Public Speaking Competition 2019,2020,2021)
- Third place (Department of National Defence Provincial Public Speaking Competition 2019)

Join Our Coach Team!

Current Openings

ABOUT US

ACE’s Vancouver Debate Academy is a rapidly growing hub of talented instructors and students with a mission to expand the scope and competitiveness of debate and speech in BC, Canada and beyond. We pride ourselves on providing top coaching, and have a string of awards from our competitive success at prestigious competitions such as those hosted by the NSDA such as the TOC, and also those hosted at institutions such as Harvard & Stanford, international competitions like the Chinese Nationals, and regional/national tournaments across Canada.

RESPONSIBILITIES

You are a strong educator with a competitive spirit who strives to make the Academy’s instruction the best in Canada. Responsibilities include:

  • Coaching between 25-30 hours of debate classes per week
  • Developing and implementing curricula for classes in debate
  • Attending competitions with the Academy’s debate teams as a coach, both in Canada and abroad
  • Admin duties as needed such as tournament registration

QUALIFICATIONS

The Head Coach will work closely with the Director of Debate to develop curricula, plan tournaments, and communicate with both students and families to serve our community.

The Head Coach demonstrates a proven record of coaching success at the highest levels of international speech and debate tournaments, including in events like Worlds, British Parliament (BP) debate, Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas (LD) debate, extemporaneous speaking, and original oratory. While we appreciate all applicants’ interest, for this position we can not consider candidates with only experience in non-US formats and tournament competitions;

  • Holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree;
  • Has a minimum of three years experience in a comparable leadership position;
  • Has classroom experience teaching and developing curricula;
  • Is comfortable with a flexible schedule that includes the ability to work weekends;
  • Has excellent interpersonal and communication skills (written, verbal, listening, and presentation);
  • Is driven, self-motivated, and results-oriented;
  • Has a strong sense of organization and the ability to lead a team.
  • In charge of outreach program, and willing to re-locate from city to city across Canada and have means to travel from district to district

Successful candidate will receive training under the guidance of the Director of the Academy, both in workshops and regular classes.

BENEFITS & COMPENSATION

The Head Coach will be compensated with a competitive salary UP TO $80K ANNUALLY, commensurate with experience and accomplishments, as well as performance-based bonuses.

You will be expected to work as necessary, and you will be eligible for an employee benefits package up to 50% copay for dental and medical expenses.

For those considering applying to be a full-time coach with us and seeking this position from outside BC, you will need to do some research and can expect support from us in your move.

Additionally, working for the Vancouver Debate Academy will provide paid travel opportunities both as coach and as a chaperone.

The opportunity to eventually take on the full-time role of Associate Director is also available for those who aspire to a long-term career with our business.

LOCATIONS & START DATES

The successful candidate will work at our Vancouver offices at 2445 West 41 Avenue Vancouver BC V6M 2A5.

Desired start date: 2023-02

APPLY

If you want to join a growing educational organization with a mission to create a thriving competitive circuit of debaters and speakers in BC/Canada, email info@vancouverdebate.ca with the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Any additional information, from a personal statement to videos of your speaking abilities – anything to help us learn more about you!

Job type: Full-time permanent 40 hours per week 5 days per week

Language of Instruction: English

Work Remotely

  • No

Job Type: Full-time

Salary: $60,000.00-$80,000.00 per year

Benefits:

  • Dental care
  • Extended health care
  • Flexible schedule
  • Paid time off

Schedule:

  • 8 hour shift

Supplemental pay types:

  • Bonus pay

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Vancouver, BC (required)

Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree (required)

Experience:

  • direct: 2 years (required)
  • Teaching: 2 years (required)

Willingness to travel:

  • 25% (required)

Work Location: One location