Jenny Cook is a Senior Partner and Co-founder of Final Focus Group. Jenny is also the President of Summit Debate Enterprises, which she started in 1995. Summit Debate conducts national debate and speech…
David Kraft is a Senior Partner and Co-founder of Final Focus Group. He is also Vice President of Summit Debate Enterprises and founder of InterProd (2004), a national performance institute and theatrical…
Steve Schappaugh is the Director of Forensics at University School in Florida where his team is currently in the top one percent of all teams in the nation according to the National Forensic League…
Dario Camara is the current Director of Speech and Debate at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, FL. As a National Forensic coach, Dario has coached many successful…
Who we are
Summit Debate is the parent organization of a series of nationally acclaimed high school debate and speech summer programs and year round online coaching and conferencing services for competitors and coaches. Our many signature programs have some of the finest instructors and staff in the nation.
Summit Debate was founded in 1995 by Jenny Cook, Executive Director. The name Summit Debate was influenced by a historic road, Summit Avenue, known for showcasing some of the grandest homes in the Twin Cities area. Summit Avenue was just a short walk from where Cook lived and in her mind the name Summit captured the image of “making it to the top”. Thus the logo “Reach for the Summit”. The first institute opened in the summer of 1997, with the National Debate Forum (NDF) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Then, in 2004, a “salon style” program in Interp events, Interpretive Productions (InterProd), was founded by David Kraft. The National Speakers Forum (NSF), an all-events institute, began in 2005, while two more “salon ” institutes, the Lyceum for Oratory, led by Ashley Mack, and the Experimental Extemp Lab (EXL), led by Chris Palmer and Jonathan Chavez, were founded in 2007. In the summer of 2007 NDF added Public Forum Debate to its program.
In 2010, given the successful history of the NDF and InterProd programs, the decision was made to no longer offer an “all events” style institute and instead run two sessions of NDF and InterProd. After several months of discussing how the “institute” experience could be made affordable and assessable to students, Summit Debate Online was created in 2011. Summit Debate Online and its live virtual educational environment, provides students and coaches year round training opportunities.
Currently, Summit Debate continues to run NDF, which include Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum Debate, InterProd, which teaches Humorous, Dramatic, and Duo Interpretation and Original Oratory, and EXL for Extemporaneous Sepeaking.
In mid July/early August, NDF, InterProd, and EXL are held at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Our Summit Debate Online coaching sessions and class offerings run throughout the year, with a full list of current classes and instructors listed at SummitDebateOnline.com. For inquiries and information about Summit Debate programs, please contact us.