Kathryn Starkey

President Colorado State University-Pueblo

After growing up in Jackson Hole, WY, Kathryn Starkey attended the University of Wyoming (UW), studying political science and social studies secondary education. While attending UW, Kathryn continued her passion for speech and debate from high school, competing in parliamentary debate. She ended her career her senior year as a semifinalist at the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship and finished as the top female-female team in the nation. Once she graduated, Kathryn went on to coach parliamentary debate at Texas Tech University, where she earned her Master's Degree in Communication Studies, with a focus on presidential rhetoric and close-textual analysis. As a coach at Texas Tech, Kathryn helped coach a team to second place at the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, and coached teams to multiple tournament wins throughout her tenure there. Kathryn continued to coach at Texas Tech for an additional year after graduation as a volunteer before moving to Pueblo to assume the role of Director of Forensics.​ She holds a M.A. in Communication Studies, B.A. in Political Science, and B.A. in Social Studies Secondary Education. She teaches Speaking & Listening, Leadership & Communication, and Political Communication. Her research interests include Presidential rhetoric, political communication, the rhetoric of political campaigns, close-text rhetorical analysis, rhetoric and pedagogy, and argumentation.

Rebecca Sietman

Vice President Wheaton College

Rebecca Sietman is an Assistant Professor of Communication and has been the Director of Forensics at Wheaton College since 2008. Rebecca graduated with an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University where she specialized in political communication, media effects, public opinion, and survey research. Her current research examines the spiral of silence in the context of communication about infertility. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys reading, singing, going for a run, and traveling with her family, especially to the beach. Rebecca has served on the NPTE board since July 2015. She began serving as vice president in July 2017.

Jim Hanson

Treasurer-Secretary Climb the Mountain Speech and Debate

Jim Hanson has served on the NPTE board since its beginnings in 2001. He has been involved in forensics for over 40 years as a competitor and as coach. As a coach, his speech and debate team won 5 squad NDPA national championships, first place CEDA team in the nation (Jessica Clarke and Adam Symonds), first place NDT speaker (Charles Olney), and first place NPDA speaker (Miranda Morton) as well as over 1000 debate awards, 167 national championship tournament elimination and qualification awards, and 500 individual speaking events awards. Jim won the national debate coach of the year award, the Lucy Keele Award and also the Thomas Cronin Environmental Award for paperless debating development and promotion. He was awarded a Mellon Grant for teaching and dialogue about diversity with Meghan Hughes and Robert Crenshaw. He won the Thomas Foley Ambassador to the Speech and Debate Community award and the Art Regier volunteer of the year award. He has taught highly rated courses such as rhetoric of race, class and gender, public speaking, argument in the law and politics, political campaign rhetoric, First Amendment and free expression, and rhetorical criticism. He is currently Director of Forensics at Seattle University, Executive Director at Climb the Mountain Speech and Debate Foundation, and President of West Coast Publishing. He has been NPTE President and now serves as the NPTE Secretary-Treasurer.

Joe Gantt

At-Large Lewis & Clark College

Joe Gantt is the Director of Forensics at Lewis & Clark College. The 2016-2017 academic year will be his twelfth year as a director and fifth at Lewis & Clark. Joe has been involved with forensics for over twenty years, with competition and coaching experience at both the high school and college level. He’s also a professor of Exploration & Discovery, Campaign Rhetoric, and Professional and Public Discourse. Joe has served on the NPTE board since January 2009, including serving as the executive secretary from January 2009 to May 2015 and as the president of the board from May 2015 to March 2017.

Joe Blasdel

At-Large McKendree University

Joe Blasdel is currently the Director of Speech and Debate and an Instructor of Political Science at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL. A graduate of McKendree University (2000) and Syracuse University (2003), Joe began his coaching career at McKendree in 2003. Under his direction, McKendree students have reached the final round at the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championship Tournament, the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament, and the National Forensic Association Championship Tournament. In 2012, Joe received the inaugural Gina Lane Advocate Award from Sisters and Allies Against Inequality in Debate. Joe currently serves as an At-Large Member of the Board and has previously served as President (August 2013-May 2015) and Vice President (April 2012-July 2013 as well as July 2015-August 2016).

Jeannie Hunt

At-Large Northwest College

Jeannie Hunt is the Director of Forensics at Northwest College, where she is also a full time faculty member. Jeannie provides a unique perspective as the only community college representative on the NPTE board. In addition to coaching and teaching, Jeannie provides Sexual Violence Prevention programming on her campus and is a PhD candidate in Higher Education Leadership. In her spare time, she likes to travel with her family and friends, bake and nap.

Jason Jordan

At-Large University of Utah

Jason Jordan is currently the assistant director of forensics at the University of Utah. Prior to coming to the U, Jason was the director of forensics at Ranger College, Richardson High School, and Decatur High School (all in Texas). As a high school coach, he has worked with students that have had competitive success at NDCA and NFL nationals and at the Texas state tournament in policy debate, LD, PFD, extemporaneous speaking, and congressional debate. On the collegiate level, Jason has coached multiple teams to first round NPTE bids, NFA LD Debate championship qualifications, and late elimination round appearances at NPDA nationals and the NPTE. Most recently, Jason coached Utah to the 2017 national season long championship in parliamentary debate. As a high school competitor, Jason debated at the Texas state policy debate tournament. In addition to his success in forensics, he has also presented his original research in the fields of legal studies, race studies, and ruralism both nationally and internationally.


Zach Schneider

Website & Rankings Coder

Zach Schneider graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2015 with a degree in computer science. He was a successful collegiate debater and one-half of the 2015 NPTE championship team. Zach is now a professional software engineer and has also worked as Director of Technology for the Bernie 2016 presidential campaign. He has continued to pursue his passion for debate, both through coaching and judging and by developing the current NPTE website and rankings code.


  • Derek Buescher - May 2008 to June 2017 (At Large, May-June 2008; President July 2008-July 2013; At Large August 2013 to June 2017)
  • Kevin Garner - July 2015 to August 2015
  • Konrad Hack - July 2006 to July 2015 (At Large, July 2006-June 2013; President July 2013; At-Large, August 2013-July 2015)
  • Gina Lane - May 2005 to April 2015
  • Charles "Chuck" Walts - July 2013-Feb 2015 (Vice-President July 2013-Feb 2015)
  • Kristine Clancy - July 2011-July 2012
  • Jason Steck - April 2000-March 2011 (Executive Secretary April 2000-May 2005; Vice President May 2005-March 2011)
  • Patty Steck - April 2000-March 2011
  • Glenn Prince - May 2008-January 2009 (Executive Secretary May 2008-January 2009)
  • Matt Stannard - April 2000-May 2005 (Chair April 2000-July 2001)
  • Kate Huetteman - July 2002-July 2006
  • Scott Gratson - April 2000-July 2002
  • Michelin Massey, Kristy Cote and John Meany served during the initial creation of the NPTE during the Spring and Summer of 2000.


  • Adam Astley - April 2000-August 2017, NPTE Web Hosting and Rankings Coder