Mississippians Hill, Cole honored by NFHS

45 Individuals Receive NFHS Music and Speech/Debate/Theatre Educator Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Contact: James Weaver

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 11, 2022) – A total of 45 individuals were selected this year to receive Outstanding Educator Awards from the NFHS Music Association and the NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre/Academics Association.

Twenty-three individuals were honored with Outstanding Music Educator Awards, including eight section and 15 state recipients, and 22 individuals received Outstanding Speech/Debate/Theatre Educator Awards, including eight section and 14 state recipients.

Since 1988 when the first Outstanding Speech/Debate/Theatre Educator Awards were presented, 238 individuals have received section awards and 386 have been honored with state awards. The Outstanding Music Educator Awards began a year later in 1989, and 198 individuals have received section awards and another 364 have been honored with state awards.

Following is information on all 45 of this year’s award recipients:


2021-22 Outstanding Music Educator Awards

NFHS Music Association



Susan Barre
Waterville, Maine
Section 1

In addition to earning numerous awards and honors, Susan Barre has transformed Maine’s Waterville school music program to one of the state’s most respected, celebrating music and students of all abilities and interests.

After beginning her education career in 1989 and teaching music at various schools in Maine, Barre joined Waterville Public Schools in 2008 as band director for grades 5-12. In 2014, Barre was named department chair for Visual and Performing Arts at Waterville Senior High School and coordinator of music for grades K-12. During her tenure, Waterville students have consistently been recognized with Outstanding Music Awards.

In 2013, Waterville Ensembles were recognized with the “Spirit of DC” award recognizing responsible and respectful behavior. At the 2018 NYC Heritage Music Festival, the Waterville Music Department won the Sweepstakes Award for outstanding music department, and the concert and jazz band earned Gold Awards.

Barre has worked to revise the music curriculum, seeking consistency in music terms and practices, and coordinated the development and implementation of a portfolio for music students. The portfolio has become a blueprint for many other music programs in the state.

Locally, the Waterville music program has become an integral part of the arts community, recognized for its efficient hosting of local festivals each year. Waterville students regularly perform in the community and are active in the arts programs at nearby Colby College.

At the state level, Barre is president of the Maine Music Educators, which helped implement a paid executive director position for the organization and moved the state’s jazz programs from a competitive format to a festival format, where ensembles perform for a rating and not against each other. Barre is also president-elect of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division and served on the executive committee overseeing the planning and implementation of the 2021 Eastern Division Virtual Festival and Conference.

Aaron Bowling
Ashland, Kentucky
Section 2

Under the direction of Aaron Bowling, the Ashland (Kentucky) Boyd County High School choral and music programs create lifelong producers, consumers and supporters of music and the arts. Since 2014, Bowling has worked as Boyd County’s director of choral activities and guitar instructor, providing various opportunities for students to grow and showcase their music abilities.

Bowling’s students have earned a distinguished rating for choral assessment four times by the Kentucky Music Education Association (KMEA), and Boyd County has had multiple students participate in KMEA District 8 All-District and KMEA All-State choirs during his tenure.

While at Boyd County, Bowling has instituted innovative performance opportunities for his students, including a pre-assessment concert that includes mock judges offering feedback to the band and choir programs in preparation for KMEA assessment festivals. He also occasionally encourages audience members to sit among performers and share their experience on social media during the concert, offering a different point of view of a performance.

Bowling directed the Boyd County Honor Choir in 2015 and 2016, coordinated the hosting of the KMEA District 8 Elementary Honor Choir in 2017 and 2018, and was the All-District Choir coordinator in 2018 and 2019. Bowling also served KMEA District 8 as choral chair from 2017 to 2019 and as mentoring chair in 2020-21.

At the local level, Bowling has worked as a public-address announcer for basketball and cross country events at the high school, and is a guest musician for local organizations. He has been a vocalist for the Ashland Youth Ballet and the Boyd County Community Band, as well as a soloist for the NorthEast Kentucky Community Choir. Bowling has also served as his church’s choir director since 2013.

Bowling was named KMEA District 8 High School Teacher of the Year in 2020, and he earned the Boyd County Public Schools “Be The Example” award in 2019.

Dr. Chris Fowler
Buford, Georgia
Section 3

Dr. Chris Fowler has been a music educator in Georgia since 1985. After teaching at Jonesboro Junior High School and Mount Zion High School, Fowler joined the Buford City School System, where he has worked as the fine arts coordinator since 1993.

Choral groups under Fowler’s direction have consistently received superior ratings in performance and sight reading at Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) performance evaluations. His groups have been invited to perform at the state GMEA conference four times. Fowler has also led his students to 13 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Literary team championships – including 11 consecutive – and 30 GHSA individual state vocal championships.

An accomplished conductor and pianist, Fowler has served as a guest clinician and conductor at numerous honor chorus events, and is in frequent demand by school, community and church groups. This year will mark the 25th time he will serve as the collaborative pianist to the Georgia All State Chorus. Fowler has also accompanied the Georgia All State Sight Reading Chorus 10 times.

Fowler is a tireless advocate for the arts in education and was the primary consultant for the construction of the Buford Fine Arts Center and the Performing Arts Building at Buford High School. He is also frequently invited to speak with decision-makers in other school districts regarding appropriate performing facilities for students.

Fowler served as a GMEA District vice chair from 1996 to 1998, was an advisory board member of the Gwinnett Philharmonic Orchestra from 1995 to 2008 and served on the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center Education Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2012.

A graduate of Georgia State University, Fowler was the school’s first recipient of the Haskell Boyter Choral Music Scholarship in 1984. He also earned the Dr. Gene Simons Fellowship Award from the University of Georgia in 2004 and has been inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the Golden Key National Honor Society.

James Fritz
Decorah, Iowa
Section 4

James Fritz recently retired after a 33-year teaching career as a director of bands, most recently as associate director of bands at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. The previous 28 years, Fritz led the music department at Decorah (Iowa) High School.

As the music department chair at Decorah, Fritz conducted the school’s wind ensemble, symphonic band, the Pride of the Vikings Marching Band, jazz bands, combos and athletic pep band. He also taught classes in music theory and jazz improvisation.

During his tenure at Decorah, Fritz saw more than 100 all-state musicians selected from his bands, and bands under his direction amassed 50 Division I ratings in marching and concert band festivals. His bands received honors at the University of Northern Iowa Northern Festival of Bands in 2006 and 2011 and as the 3A performing ensemble at the 2001 Iowa Bandmasters Conference. In 2009, the Decorah Band Department received the Exemplary Music Program award from the Iowa Music Educators Association.

Fritz has conducted numerous honor bands in his career, including the 2015 Luther College Dorian Honor Band and Dorian Music Camp, the 2018 MESAC Honor Band that performed in Dubai, UAE.

Even before joining the staff at Luther College, Fritz frequently mentored future music educators at the school. Decorah High School serves as a “lab school” for music majors at Luther and Fritz has worked with hundreds of Luther students, allowing them to student teach and observe his classrooms. As president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, Fritz made mentorship a focus of the organization and continued as the Association’s Mentorship Committee chair for six years after his presidency.

Among his honors, the Iowa Bandmasters Association awarded Fritz the Karl King Active Distinguished Service Award in 2005, and he received the Phillip Sehlmann Excellence in Teaching Award from the Northeast Iowa Bandmasters Association in 2001.

Joel Gittle
Manhattan, Kansas
Section 5

For much of Joel Gittle’s 31-year career as a music educator, he has worn multiple hats to serve students of the Manhattan-Ogden (Kansas) Unified School District. In addition to his role as the director of bands at Manhattan High School, Gittle is the school’s performing arts departments chair, and a district instrumental music coordinator for grades 6-12.

Gittle’s active instrumental music program, including Manhattan High School’s wind ensemble, symphonic band ensemble and marching band, have earned multiple Division 1 ratings in Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) festivals. He has 28-plus years of service to the Kansas Bandmasters Association (KBA) or Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA). Since 2016, Gittle has been the KMEA North Central District executive director.

KMEA recognized Gittle as the North Central District “Outstanding High School Music Teacher of the Year” in 2006 and 2017. Among the other awards in his three decades of work is the GRAMMY Foundation “Top 100” National Music Educator in 2015.

Kevin Beaber
Ordway, Colorado
Section 6

Kevin Beaber’s career as a music educator has been a positive influence on vocal, band and orchestra students of Crowley (Colorado) County Schools (Grades 5-12) since 1988. He previously taught in a similar capacity at Haxtun (Colorado) County Schools (Grades K-12) from 1985 to 1988. Beaber’s contributions to music reach outside the schools of Crowley County as he is also co-director of the Arkansas Valley Community Band in Fowler, Colorado.

Throughout his 37-year career, Beaber has prided himself on providing opportunities for his students. This act has been on display when lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., for music education legislation to meeting with state department of health officials throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to discuss guidelines for music classrooms. Outside the classroom, he’s overseen his bands performances at halftime of the Alamo Bowl on seven occasions, along with guiding them to second- and third-place finishes at marching band festivals for the Southern Qualifying Regionals and Colorado Bandmasters Association.

Beaber, who is currently president of the Colorado Music Educators Association (CMEA), has also served in a similar capacity for the American School Band Directors Association. The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), of which he is music committee chair, recognized him as its educator of the month in March 1994. Beaber’s other merits include being a two-time recipient of the Boettcher Foundation Teacher Recognition Award (2002 & 2009), which is awarded to the most influential teacher selected by a Colorado post-secondary scholarship recipient.

Sharee Jorgensen
Sandy, Utah
Section 7

Sharee Jorgensen is the fine arts and performing arts specialist for the Canyons School District (CSD) in Sandy, Utah – a position she’s held since 2009. A music educator of 42 years, she’s taught music in many forms across the state, including band, choir, general music, guitar and theater.

Jorgensen’s foray into music education came in 1980 as a band and choir teacher at Richfield High School. During her five-year stint at Richfield, she wrote a different marching band show for each home football game.

Since 1993, Jorgensen’s teaching duties have coincided with her contributions on the state level as executive director of the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA). She also regularly serves as an adjudicator and clinician for Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) sanctioned solo and ensemble, and large group festivals.

Nationally, Jorgensen has been a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) since 1980. During that time, her service includes serving as chair of the Council of State Executives from 2000 to 2002, along with being the site manager for the “World’s Largest Concert” in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Tabernacle and, in 2006, for the national conference.

Jorgensen has continued to increase the fine arts and performing arts opportunities throughout Utah during her tenure. In acknowledgement of those feats, she received the Sorenson Legacy Award for Excellence in Arts Administration in 2018, the UMEA Presidential Award in 2002 and the “Outstanding Young Women in America” in 1982 by a national publication.

Stuart Welsh
West Albany, Oregon
Section 8

Stuart Welsh has been the band director for West Albany (Oregon) High School for the past 16 years. His work at West Albany also includes teaching all instrumental music classes, advanced placement music theory, and exploring audio recording, sound reinforcement and event management through his “Even Technology” program. Welsh first began teaching general music, band and theater (Grades 5-12) in 1996 for the Cascade School District in Leavenworth, Washington.

Welsh has been an integral member of the Oregon Music Education Association (OMEA) and Oregon Band Director’s Association (OBDA) since 2007, and he was president of the OBDA in 2019-20. As a member of the OMEA, Welsh has been a district chair, event chair, treasurer, and coordinator of the all-state wind ensemble, symphonic band and conference equipment on multiple occasions.

Welsh’s commitment to the OMEA also guided the organization through logistical issues associated with hosting all-state band and orchestra concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using much of his personal time, he designed and constructed a modular stage extension that made it possible for a church in Eugene to safely host the event.

Welsh was recognized as one of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” by School Band & Orchestra Magazine in 2019. The honor mirrors the thoughts of his West Albany students, who, in 2011, named him “Most Inspirational Teacher.” Welsh also earned “Educator of the Year” from the Cascade School District during the 2001-02 school year.


Alvin Atkinson Jr.
Promise Academy
New York, New York

  • Assistant director or music and arts at Promise Academy since 2020, where he manages the band, orchestra and arts programs for all schools.

Peter Briggs
Lincoln High School
Tacoma, Washington

  • Taught band, percussion, piano and orchestra at Lincoln High School since 2008; founder of SoundEd in 2019.

Jeanne Christensen
Mira Mesa High School
San Diego, California

  • Led the music program at Mira Mesa High School since 1994.

Justin Ediger
Elk City Public Schools
Elk City, Oklahoma

  • Secondary choral instructor for Elk City Schools, grades 7-12, since 2009.

Mary Evers
Greenfield-Central Junior High School
Greenfield, Indiana

  • Drama director and director of three choirs since 2016 at Greenfield-Central Junior High School, and she has been involved with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir since 2004.

Jadira Flamm
Sue Cleveland High School
Rio Rancho, New Mexico

  • Serves as director of choral activities and fine arts instructional leader at V. Sue Cleveland High School and is in her 17th year in the Rio Rancho School District.

Libby Gopal
East Orange Campus High School
East Orange, New Jersey

  • High school choir director since 2002 and has served at East Orange High School since 2009.

Joel Hill
Velma Jackson High School
Camden, Mississippi

  • Serves as director of choral music at Velma Jackson High School and Shirley D. Simmons Middle School; total of 24 former students have become music educators.

Justin Lee
Heritage High School
Broadlands, Illinois

  • Teaches instrumental music, vocal music and started the musical theatre program at Heritage High School.

Kimberly Lorengo
Anaconda High School
Anaconda, Montana

  • Started the music program at Anaconda in 2000 and continues to reach orchestra, choir for fourth grade through high school.

Dr. Lance Nielsen
Lincoln Public Schools
Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Supervisor of music and administrator of the K-12 Music Department for the Lincoln Public Schools since 2014.

Christina Sprague
Bradleyville School District
Bradleyville, Missouri

  • Has directed the entire K-12 music program for the Bradleyville Schools for 27 years; has led students to many “straight 1” performances at the state large ensemble festival.

Jim Trant
LaFourche Parish
Raceland, Louisiana

  • Appointed fine arts coordinator in LaFourche Parish in 2008 and has administered the instrumental, vocal and general music programs since that time.

Stephanie Trump
Armstrong High School
Plymouth, Minnesota

  • Served as director of choirs at Armstrong High School since 1996 and ensembles have performed at state and regional choral conventions and festivals.

Mat Whitworth
Alma High School
Alma, Arkansas

  • Currently in 28th year of teaching choral music in Arkansas, with the last 19 years as the head of the vocal music department at Alma High School.


2021-22 Outstanding Speech/Debate/Theatre Educator Awards

NFHS Speech, Debate, Theatre and Academics Association



David Yastremski
Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Section 1

David Yastremski is in the 27th year of his career as a language arts teacher, highlighted by his 24-year tenure in his current role as director of forensics at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Yastremski has built the Ridge forensics program into nothing short of a dynasty. The school has claimed the past 20 consecutive New Jersey Speech and Debate League (NJSDL) state sweepstakes championships, and Yastremski has groomed a total of 14 national champions within National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA), National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) and Tournament of Champions competitions.

In terms of service, Yastremski currently fills numerous roles for the NJSDL and NCFL, including NJSDL president and member of the Executive and New Jersey District Committees; and speech tab assistant director, Newark Executive Committee member and Grand Nationals tab room staff member for the NCFL. In the past, he has been part of the NSDA Ad Hoc Committees for Educator Standards, Pedagogy and Congress Rules Review and has served the National Communication Association (NCA) in several capacities.

Yastremski received the NSDA Four-Diamond Award in 2019 and the NCA’s Marcella E. Oberle Award for Outstanding Teaching in Grades K-12 in 2011; and was previously heralded by the New Jersey Debate League with the New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education.

Karen Feldhaus
Owensboro, Kentucky
Section 2

            Karen Feldhaus has rekindled the theatre department and fostered the growth of competitive speech during her 25 years at Daviess County High School (DCHS) in Owensboro, Kentucky.

Since joining the DCHS staff in 1996, Feldhaus has grown the theatre program from 25 students per year to more than 150. Her teams have since won several state and regional titles in one-act play, and many of her theatre students have been selected to all-state theatre casts and to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts, while others have earned college scholarships.

She has built up the speech program to capture numerous regional team championships and state honors, including recognition as a state tournament ‘team of distinction.’ She has also guided several of her students to become individual champions, runners-up and finalists at the state level, and has led some to compete at national tournaments. The debate program has produced two state novice champions and two state team awards under Feldhaus.

Feldhaus, who will be inducted into the Kentucky High School Speech League Hall of Fame later this year, has been affiliated with the Educational Theatre Association and has sponsored DCHS’ International Thespian Troupe since 1998. She has also been a member of the National Speech and Debate Association since 2002 and received her first Diamond Award in 2019.

Shane Cole
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Section 3

Shane Cole started as speech and debate coach at Oak Grove High School (OGHS) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 2003, and has since assembled both a lengthy list of accomplishments and an exceptional record of service during his 19 years at the helm.

Cole has led juggernaut OGHS speech teams to claim 12 Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) state titles since 2006 – the first year the MHSAA sanctioned a speech and debate championship. His students have totaled 67 individual-event state championships, with five pupils also being declared top individual performers of the championships.

In debate, Cole has mentored a combined 247 national qualifiers between National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) and National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) competitions, and has overseen several memorable performances at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions, including an Act One Sweepstakes Championship in 2013.

Cole has been an event chair for the past six years and has sat on the Mississippi/Magnolia District Committee since 2005, winning a “Best New Chair” award in 2012 during his four-year stint as committee chair (2011-2015). He also served four years as the Section 3 representative on the NFHS Speech and Debate Advisory Committee and was MHSAA Speech/Debate/Theatre Coordinator from 2016 to 2021.

The NSDA Three-Diamond coach has also guided his speech and debate program to four Leading Chapter Awards throughout his career.

Gary Peters
Indianapolis, Indiana
Section 4

Gary Peters has more than 25 years’ experience as a teacher, theatre director and speech and debate, spell bowl and mock trial coach, with more than 20 of those years spent working in Indiana for the Gary Community School Corporation and Indianapolis Ben Davis High School, his alma mater.

After six years teaching and coaching in Arkansas and Georgia, where he coached his Atlanta (Georgia) Harper-Archer High School speech team to an Atlanta Public Schools city championship, Peters moved to Gary in 2001, where he assumed roles as speech and debate instructor, theatre director, spell bowl coach and modeling troupe sponsor for three different high schools in the district. While there, he coached two national-champion speech students – one in Poetry Interpretation in 2012 and the other in Declamation in 2014 – and two state finalists in Original Performance (2012, 2014).

Peters then came to Indianapolis in 2014 when he became director of debate and mock trial and spell bowl coach at Ben Davis. His exploits include grooming at least one sectional speech finalist each year from 2015 to 2019 and being named a finalist for National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Educator of the Year in 2020.

Peters has also received the One Diamond Award from the NSDA and sits on the NSDA committee for the Hoosier Heartland District.

Jamelle Brown
Kansas City, Kansas
Section 5

Jamelle Brown has taught debate, public speaking, speech and theatre at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science in Kansas City, Kansas, since 2004. In addition to also serving as speech and debate head coach, she added the role of diversity, equity and inclusion co-facilitator in 2019. Brown’s DEI efforts coincide with her continued work to expand the area in the speech and debate community as part of the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Black/African American and Women’s Coaches’ Caucuses.

At the national level, Brown also serves as co-chair of “Extemporaneous Speaking Prep” at the NSDA National Tournament. She has previously presented as the NFHS Performing Arts Conference, and is the Section 5 member of the NFHS Theatre, Speech and Debate Committee. Locally, Brown remains a prominent figure in the speech, debate and theatre community as a member and presenter for the Kansas Speech and Debate Association. She also is the summer youth instructor and play director for the Kansas Academy of Theatrical Arts.

Brown, who is a three-time diamond NSDA coach, has helped lead her teams to eight Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) Speech and Drama State Championships from 2012 to 2021. In 2015, she coached a state debate champion. Among Brown’s own merits are the National Milken Educator Award, which she received in 2007. She was inducted into the Kansas Debate Coaches Invitational Coach Hall of Fame in 2020, and the Kansas City Coach Hall of Fame in 2017 for her contributions to debate. In 2014, Brown was the recipient of the KSHSAA Heart of the Arts Award.

Sheridan Johnson
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Section 6

Johnson has been the speech and debate director at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico for three years. Since that time, 30 of her students have attended nationals.

`           Johnson’s Academy teams produced a seventh-place orator in 2019, a first-place orator in 2020 and a third-place orator in 2021. In 2020, Academy advanced to the national semifinals in Hawaii.

In addition to her team’s success, Johnson started the New Mexico Speech and Debate Association Student Leadership Council, overseeing the Council’s efforts to run a scrimmage tournament and getting involved in a political bid to raise money for New Mexico debate programs.

Furthermore, Johnson founded the New Mexico Speech and Debate Foundation to support New Mexico students’ travel to the national tournament, and she directed a fundraising gala. Through this foundation, she held a speech and debate tournament, which was the first in the state to gain a bid to the UK Tournament of Champions in speech events.

Johnson has been an energetic mentor to new coaches, teaching the nuances of th events to build the level fo competition in New Mexico.

Doug Welton
Salem, Utah
Section 7

Doug Welton is a tireless advocate for speech and debate in Utah high schools, where he leads the program at Salem Hills High School. As an educator, Welton has coached his students to 12 consecutive region debate championships, including a Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Class 5A state championship and two runner-up finishes.

Welton has also served as a mentor to several young coaches in Utah, helping to grow programs around the state. Additionally, he is well-known for managing some of the largest speech and debate tournaments in Utah, providing an atmosphere that uniquely celebrates participants.

At the state level, Welton currently serves at the treasurer of the Utah Debate Coaches Association (UDCA), playing a key role in maintaining the organization’s initiatives. He is also a former president of the UDCA and is president of the Utah Association of Japanese Teachers.

Additionally, Welton works with the UHSAA to set yearly budgets for the state debate championships, protecting the event’s financial viability and finding new ways to innovate.

Nationally, Welton is a member of the National Speech and Debate Association Sundance Committee. He also is a member of the Utah House of Representatives.

Among his honors, Welton was named the UHSAA Speech Educator of the Year and Salem Hills High School Most Influential Teacher.

Kayla Crook
Coos Bay, Oregon
Section 8

Kayla Crook has taught speech and debate at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, since 2012, and while she has packed her 10-year tenure with service to the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) and the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), she was also instrumental in pioneering virtual tournaments for Oregon speech and debate participants throughout the pandemic.

Needing an alternative to in-person competition, Crook decided to hold the state’s first completely virtual open tournament and shared her materials and processes with other coaches in Oregon. As a result of her efforts, she helped coordinate national qualifier tournaments, 10 OSAA district tournaments held simultaneously, and the OSAA state tournament.

Aside from leading her teams to multiple OSAA Class 4A/3A/2A/1A State Speech Championships (2017 and 2021) and state runners-up (2016, 2018 and 2019), Crook has been the OSAA District 6 director for the past nine years and is currently serving a four-year term as a member of the OSAA Speech Activities Advisory Committee.

She also began a four-year term in 2019 as South Oregon chair for the NSDA, from which she earned her first Diamond Award in 2017, as well as the Don Crabtree Distinguished Service Award in 2019, the 2020 South Oregon Coach of the Year and the 2022 Oregon Speech Educator of the Year honors.


Jennifer Adams
Big Spring High School
Big Spring, Texas

  • Coached speech and debate at Big Spring High School since 2000 and has led Big Spring to one Texas University Interscholastic League State Speech Championship.

Nate Conoly
Vestavia Hills High School
Vestavia. Alabama

  • Coached speech/debate at Vestavia Hills High School since 2014 and has coached teams to three state speech/debate championships and led 36 students to national competition.

Marco Dominguez
Desert Ridge High School
Mesa, Arizona

  • Coached speech and debate at Desert Ridge for the past five years, and his students have qualified for nationals every year. Currently ranks seventh in Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I.

Hannah Evans
Little Rock Central High School
Little Rock, Arkansas

  • In her fifth year as theatre coach at Little Rock Central High School, where she has produced three musicals and six regular plays. Started her career at Central Arkansas Christian Schools for seven years.

Vincent Hrasky
Tri-County Community Schools
Thornburg, Iowa

  • Language arts teacher and large group and individual events coach and director at Tri-County Community Schools since 2007. Previously taught and coached at Montezuma Community Schools.

Christine Hubbard
Skyline High School
Idaho Falls, Idaho

  • Taught speech and debate at Skyline High School for past nine years and has taught state champions and finalists in Radio Broadcast Journalism, Informative Speaking, After Dinner Speaking, Panel, Original Oratory and Policy Debate and Lincoln Douglas Debate.

A.J. Johnson
Hartington-Newcastle Public Schools
Hartington, Nebraska

  • Served as superintendent of the Hartington-Newcastle Public Schools since 2015 after 17 years as language arts and speech teacher. Coached speech team for 25 years with six state championships.

Ellie Marvin
Normal Community West High School
Normal, Illinois

  • Speech coach at Normal West High School since 2000 with 12 state finalists and two state finalists in Extemporaneous Speaking.

Stephen O’Baugh
Rockingham County Public Schools
Harrisonburg, Virginia

  • In first year of coaching, led team to Virginia High School League state tournament. Involved with Shenandoah Valley Forensics League.

Jason Paris
Cherokee High School
Cherokee, Oklahoma

  • Directed the speech, debate and theatre program at Cherokee High School since 2002 and has built the program from three students to 47.

Kennedy Pugh
Pueblo County High School & The Arts Academy
Pueblo, Colorado

  • Honored with the 2021 Governors Leadership Award.

Dean Slusser
Camden County High School Fine Arts Academy
Kingsland, Georgia

  • Served as fine arts director/assistant principal/theatre teacher at Camden County High School since 2002.

Shane Stafford
The Blake School
Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Coached high school debate since 1979 and has coached debate at The Blake School for the past 14 years, where he has coached students to state and national championships.

Jack Tuckness
Central High School
Springfield, Missouri

  • Taught high school speech and debate for 36 years, including the past 24 years at Central High School in Springfield, where he has coached 226 national qualifiers.

Online link to article: https://www.nfhs.org/articles/45-individuals-receive-nfhs-music-and-speechdebatetheatre-educator-awards/


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