Stoa Academy 2021 Conference Speakers

Matt & Michelle Argue have been married for 24 years. They have homeschooled for 15 years and this year, they graduated their youngest. Both of their boys are college-bound; one attends Patrick Henry College and the other Providence Christian College both on academic scholarships.
Matt is a practicing attorney for over 30 years and is licensed in 5 different states. Originally a Construction Defect Litigator, during the last 16 years, Matt has changed his practice to full-time Mediation. He is the current president of the Institute for Christian Conciliation. Matt is a three-time cancer survivor and stem cell transplant recipient. He has a passion for family, biblical reconciliation, and glorifying God in all He has called him to do.
Michelle is a native Washingtonian, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Washington University. She is a Stoa tournament director along with her husband for “The Thing” in San Diego, CA. She has a desire to continue ministering to youth in homeschooling, Stoa, and AWANA and is currently in training for the ICC’s Certified Christian Conciliator. Michelle loves to plan events at home and Matt considers her the Fun Chairman of the house!

Tasha Aschmutat has been homeschooling her 9 children for 26 years. Fourteen years ago, when her first child started speech and debate and she saw what her children learned through this activity, she decided it was going the be the most important part of her curriculum. Back then, Tasha was a drop-off, uninvolved parent, but through the years she evolved to become a club manager, coach, and tournament director. Currently, Tasha is the speech coach for Ascend in New Braunfels, Texas, and a new member of the Stoa speech committee. When she is not teaching her own children or traveling to tournaments, Tasha is a writing tutor at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

Maggie Carabelos was a founding member in establishing homeschool speech and debate in Colorado and has been at its core ever since.
She has been coaching Homeschool Forensics and the SALT (Speaking As Living Testimonies) club since 1999.
Maggie also has extensive experience in tournament directing and administration. She served on the Directors Team for NITOC 2012, as the Tournament Assistant for NITOC 2013, and she was working hard as the 2020 Tournament Director before the unprecedented cancellation of NITOC due to COVID-19. Maggie and Sharon Nagatani were honored to direct the NITOC 2021 in person at Union University in TN
Maggie served on the Stoa Debate Committee for 6 years and currently serves as President of the Stoa Board of Directors.
She and her husband Leonard have been happily married for 33 years and have two adult sons who were both homeschooled and are alumni debaters.

Dorr Clark As a homeschool dad, Dorr H. Clark was recruited as a community judge & accepted his first debate ballot in April 1998. He started working 1 on 1 with CLASH debaters shortly thereafter and continues to this day. In addition to coaching, starting in 2003, Dorr provided team policy judge orientation for tournaments for over a decade, including the first three NITOCs. As founding debate chair for Stoa, Dorr was in the unique position of having previously coached high school Parli for CLASH, and led the movement to bring Parli into Stoa. Before Parli became a Stoa debate event, Dorr organized all the Parli demonstration events up and down the west coast, ran the first West Coast Parli debate camp for homeschoolers, and was the tournament director of the first California Stoa Parli qualifier. He also served on the CLASH board for a decade.

Sue Danielson has been involved with speech and debate since 2006, as both a parent and speech coach in Washington state. She serves on the state leadership team and leads tournaments. She has served on the Stoa Speech Committee since 2013. She is passionate about preparing students for life beyond competition using the skills from speech and debate especially those in Mars Hill and Interpretations.

Mike Diaz has spent the past 5 years in the Stoa community. He serves on both the Stoa Tab and StoaTrax committees. Mike has been married for 21 years to his amazing wife with whom he is currently surviving the dictatorship of a wild-eyed toddler. They have a total of 8 offspring, (two are now alumni) and they anticipate 15 more years in Stoa in order to train up the last child. Mike and his tribe live in the grey Pacific Northwest where he runs his own business, plays card games with his kids and leads Empire Speech and Debate.

Colleen Enos is a Stoa coach who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her family. She has been involved in speech and debate since 2004. All eight of her children have competed in speech and debate, two are current Stoa competitors. Colleen and Larry Sparks co-founded the speech and debate club Resolve located in Colorado in 2007. She has served on the Stoa Debate Committee since 2015 and is the current Debate Chair.
Colleen is passionate about training the next generation to winsomely articulate the gospel to a dying world. She believes that Stoa students will use their rhetorical skills to sprinkle salt and shine light on our nation. Her background is in advocacy for the unborn in debate and political settings. Colleen received her B.S. in Business Management and is a certified paralegal.

Tammy Flood attended her first speech and debate meeting in 2011 with her husband and four boys, including a two-week-old baby, and very slowly became immersed in the world of Stoa. As a frequent Ballot Push volunteer, Tammy often quite reluctantly got roped into judging various Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas Debate finals as a “clean judge”. When her twins competed for the last time at NITOC 2017 and were preparing to leave for college, she fully realized the enormous role that speech and debate had played in their lives. It turns out that tournament results are insignificant compared to the lasting character and skills gained by involvement in Stoa. Tammy is the camp and tournament admin for her club, Invictus Fides, in Southlake, Texas. She has also been the inaugural chair of the Communications Committee since 2019 (read the StoaByte!) and a member of the StoaTraX Committee since its inception in 2020.

Luis Garcia was the 2011 undefeated champion of Apologetics, winning the four major CA tournaments including the NITOC title. He was also blessed with the 2011 NITOC Impromptu title, making him #1 on for that season. He competed for a total of three years and then he coached for five years traveling all over CA and to NV, AZ, and CO giving seminars to help disciple kids in Apologetics for competition and life after. He went on to receive his M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Today, his greatest titles and honors are husband to Hannah, father to Ezra and Brooklyn, and pastor of Grace Church Santee in San Diego, CA.

Michelle Hawkinson enjoys sunsets in her home state of Kansas. Her dual bachelors' degree - in Bible and Elementary Education - was earned at Emmaus Bible College where she met her husband, Andrew. She uses this training daily as the mother of 6 homeschooled children, the oldest 3 of whom are Stoa competitors. Michelle enjoys helping in any and every tournament role, but especially with script submission! Her family serves the Lord year-round at Kansas Bible Camp. Michelle enjoys chocolate and helping others!

Amy Komparens has been involved with Stoa Speech and Debate for eight years, and directed Skagit Defenders Speech and Debate club for the last five. Her club runs Northern Lights Challenge in January each year, and they always have a large junior tournament that takes place on Saturday. At times, there have been as many juniors at Skagit Defenders as there are competitors! She is happy to say that her little club in the furthest Northwest corner of the United States has three national speech titles, many national speech finalists, and multiple high-ranking Parli teams to its name.

Beth Nieva has been part of the Stoa community for 6 years and started as “just a parent”. She is currently a club director, speech coach, tournament director, and JO Lead in the PNW.
Beth is involved in Youth Ministry and is an active leader/teacher in the Classical Conversations Homeschool community.
She is a mom to three great kids, that include an alum and current competitor. Her favorite speech events are interps and she loves a good cup of coffee.

Anna Plummer Married for 33 years and a mother of three daughters, Anna has completed 23 years of homeschooling and 14 years in Speech and Debate. For the past four years, she headed up a speech team – Parlé.
Anna’s passion is coaching interpretive speeches. During our Speech and Debate years, she coached students with blocking, voices, scenes, body postures, facial expressions, and more.
Anna’s heart is to see Stoa Speech and Debate supported, developed, and promoted.

Tonya Scott has been involved in Stoa Speech & Debate since 2012 and has been co-director of Verve for the past five years. She has directed over 15 tournaments, along with co-directing numerous tournaments beyond that. Speech & Debate were for her boys, not for her. (She was terrified of talking in front of a group.) Little did she know speech & debate would teach her just as much! She has an amazing husband of 30 years, and three boys ages 23, 21, and 19. She loves this community and is excited to be a part of Stoa Academy this year.

Matthew Shipley is the father of two Stoa alumni, and he has two more children who are current Stoa speech and debate competitors. Matthew has been actively involved in Stoa for eight years. He has served on the Stoa Speech Committee for four years, and he has served as the NITOC Lead Extemp Proctor for several years as well. When he is not engaged in Stoa activities and tournaments, Matthew’s day job is serving as the superintendent of a public school district in Modesto, California. One of the ways that Matthew enjoys investing in the Kingdom of God is by serving the Stoa community to help equip Christian homeschool speech and debate competitors for lives of faithful and effective service to our Lord.

Lynda Sloneker Lynda is mom to 2 Stoa alumni and one current Stoa competitor. In 2014, she worked together with 4 other families to start a Stoa club in Northwest Arkansas. She has served as the club director and tournament director since that time. She served for 3 years on the Training and Development Committee and has been a member of Stoa's Board of Directors for one year. She also currently serves on the StoaTrax committee. Lynda helped to pioneer and develop the use of online tournaments during the past year as Stoa sought to provide an opportunity for students to continue competing during Covid. She is passionate about the value of Christian homeschool speech and debate in the lives of Stoa students and families.

Larry Sparks is a business insurance and bonding agent in Colorado Springs, where he lives with his wife of thirty-four years and their two sons. He is active in his church and as a Gideon. Back in the Reagan administration he began competing in speech and debate. Throughout his professional career he has trained leaders on improving their communication skills. In 2005 he was introduced to the world of Homeschool Forensics when invited to be a community judge. In 2007 Colleen Enos and he launched RESOLVE Speech and Debate club. He has been coaching debate ever since. Although Resolve has enjoyed competitive success, the most rewarding experience is seeing young people learn to think critically, research thoroughly, and communicate passionately. Larry currently serves on Stoa's debate committee.

Alicia Stunkel credits her own experience in high school speech and debate for preparing her for college and beyond. She discovered the homeschool speech and debate world as her son was entering his freshman year of high school. Nine years later, she serves as the Director of Interritus Speech & Debate Club and the Chair of the Stoa Speech Committee. She loves the homeschool community and has a real passion for teaching the next generation of leaders.

Steven Vaughan After being a Community Judge for 2 years, Steven Vaughan knew he wanted his kids involved in this activity. Finding no local clubs to join, he decided to start his own club in 2006. Beginning with only 6 students, he now averages over 40 students from around the Denver Metro area. His club, LOGOS, meets in Aurora, CO. He has now been involved with speech and debate for over 15 years. Steven is currently finishing his two year stint as the Stoa Debate Chair and will be entering his new position as Stoa Board Member this August. He is also a Registered Nurse, Owner of CO-Inspire, a part-time caterer, a musician, coffee roaster, DJ, and has been known to teach some line dancing on occasion. Steven has been married to his wife Jennifer for 35 years and has six children ranging in age from 30 to 15. Four have graduated, and all have been involved, or continue to be involved in speech and debate.

Griffith Vertican is a licensed Attorney, the 2007 NPDA National Champion, and one of the most successful coaches in Stoa. He is one of two original Stoa debate committee members and the author of both of this year's Lincoln Douglas (Biomedical Engineering) and Team Policy (Artificial Intelligence) resolutions. Over the past 14+ years ,Griffith personally has coached nine different national champions in all three forms of debate. His students who have won a national title include: Brandon Winchel, Manoah Martin, Jeffrey Pistor, Austin Pistor, Noah Johnson, Noah Pacifici, James Sloneker, Joseph Abell, and now the 2021 NITOC Lincoln-Douglas Champion Logan Whitcher among others.

Mary Winther is a former high school and college debater and has been coaching debate and directing tournaments in the homeschool arena since 1999. She, along with her husband Mike, coach the Modesto Debate club in California. She holds Bachelor’s Degrees in political science and secondary education. She is the mother of three former homeschool debaters and "debate mom" to hundreds of debate students she has
worked with over the years. Mary also speaks at homeschool conventions and debate conferences around the country. She is the co-author of "Rhetoric Through Policy Debate". Mary is the former chair of the Stoa Debate Committee and has been recently elected to serve on the Stoa Board of Directors.

Mike Winther is the President of the Institute for Principle Studies—a Christian think-tank that researches and teaches biblical principles of government and economics.
Mike is a strong advocate of the value of competitive speech and debate. He participated in speech and debate in both high school and college. Since 1999 he and his wife, Mary, have coached the Modesto Debate club in California. He is the co-author, with Mary, of a debate textbook called: “Rhetoric Through Policy Debate”.
He sits on the Board of Scholars of the Michigan based Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Stoa speech and debate league.
Mike is a frequent speaker at debate camps and workshops and regularly presents at conferences on public policy topics.

Branden Yeates is a StoaUSA alumni from Colorado who competed in homeschool forensics from 2007 to 2014. He participated in every category of speech and debate and is a national champion in Duo, Extemp, and 2013’s wildcard event, Storytelling. His favorite debate event has always been LD. He has coached at speech and debate camps for many years and currently serves on Stoa’s debate committee. Some of His favorite memories from his competition years are the fun he had with teammates, the friends he made all across the country, and competing all the way through nationals in Duo his first year with his brother. Branden graduated from Colorado Christian University in 2018 majoring in Business, Accounting, and Social Science, and currently works as an auditor with Moss Adams, LLP, in Denver, Colorado.