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Contact us at jim@climbthemountain.us

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Climb the Mountain
Staff Bios





Jim Hanson

Executive Director of Climb the Mountain Speech and Debate Foundation, Jim Hanson is one of the most successful coaches in forensics. He has won four different Coach of the Year awards, two awards for environmental protection with paperless debating, and a Mellon grant for diversity. He has directed six different national championship teams/squads, 167 teams that advanced to CEDA or NPDA elimination rounds or qualified to the NPTE or NDT (an all time record), and he is the author of nationally acclaimed debate and individual events textbooks.


Zach Maghirang

Zach is experienced in Policy debate and Dual-Interp and he has debated on the UW policy debate team. He debated Policy for three years at Puyallup High School and he debated policy at the University of Washington. While debating in high school he consistently placed in the top four in state. In college, he placed second at the JV Western Nationals tournament and was a octafinalist at the NJDDT in his first year of debate.

He performed a dual-interp his senior year of high school which later placed him at 4th in the Washington State IE tournament.

While teaching he believes that a hands-on approach is the best due to the intricacies of debate that require experience to fully understand. While coaching he likes to give debaters flexibility to run arguments that they are interested in while helping develop them into successful strategic options.

​Angie Tinker

Angie is the assistant debate coach at Pacific Lutheran University, where she has coached teams into finals consistently. She has taught at debate camps for two years, both at the Women's Debate Institute and at Climb the Mountain. During her time as a debater, she has cleared consistently at highly competitive tournaments, notably the Whitman Remy Wilcox tournament, Berkeley Invitational, and Idaho state debate championship in high school level policy debate. At the collegiate level, Angie has cleared and defeated top teams in the National Parliamentary Debate Association format at the Mile High Swing, and in British Parliamentary debate, she has regularly been in finals elimination rounds and won the Mark O. Hatfield Invitational.


Carly Johnson

Carly has done speech and debate for 7 years; 3 at Snohomish High School and 4 at Whitman College. She competed in parliamentary debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, extemporaneous speaking, and impromptu speaking throughout her tenure in forensics. She graduated from Whitman with a Gender Studies degree and is very passionate about social justice. She loves to teach and watch her students expand their knowledge and talents. She is all about personalized teaching and has taught at debate camps for four years.


Dylan Thomas

Dylan competed in Policy Debate all four years of high school, and is a third year competitor for the University of Washington Policy Debate team. In each of these years Dylan competed at 8-10 tournaments.  In addition, during the fourth year of his high school career Dylan was given authority over the development and implementation of Mount Vernon High School's Policy Debate curriculum.

Dylan has competed in Oratory for a single tournament.  Later he critiqued novices doing IE's.

Dylan spent a year assisting another student develop a curriculum for policy debate.  Subsequently, he coached six students in policy debate and two students in LD debate - developing a curriculum from the ground up.  They rose to success in the Washington circuit, peaking as a State Quarter finalist.

Kinny Torre

Kenny is a coach at Western Washington University who debated for seven years (three years of policy in high school and four years of Parli in college). Kenny double majored in Critical Legal Studies and Philosophy at Western Washington University. For the past two years, he has consistently advanced to elimination rounds in the open division at both local and national tournaments including Lewis & Clark, University of Puget Sound, Linfield, Mile High and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. Kenny’s favorite arguments tend to be kritikal with an emphasis on Biopolitics, Neoliberalism, Post Colonialism and structures of debate. Kenny has helped with coaching for the past two years including two different high schools in Washington that placed within the top 8 at the state policy tournament.


Lukas Garcia

Lukas has competed in public forum debate for 4 years. This past year, he advanced to final rounds at 3 national competition bid tournaments, making it to the finals at UPS and Lewis and Clark. Lukas capped off his Washington debate career with a state championship title. He is the first debater from Southridge High School to qualify for the Tournament of Champions and the first in over a decade to win the state debate tournament. Lukas has performed at the local and national level, consistantly making it into the elimination rounds at local tournaments, and placing top 16 at the national elite level James Logan Martin Luther King Memorial tournament where he and his partner were the 3rd seed out of a pool of 144 teams.


Melanie Nadon

Melanie has two years of high school speech and debate experience (2009-2011) with Los Osos High School in Southern California, during which she competed largely in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Parliamentary Debate, Student Congress, and platform IEs. She was a California State and NFL National Tournament qualifier in LD both years and she was also a break round qualifier at Nationals both of those years. Melanie also has four years (2011-2015) of competitive experience in British Parliamentary debate for University of La Verne. She was an elimination rounds qualifier at the United States Universities National Debate Championships three of those four years and in 2013 she was the 8th best speaker at the National Championships and a semi-finalist in elimination rounds. While studying and competing during her undergraduate education, Melanie was also coaching Middle and High School programs and camps, working extensively with Bonita High School, Carden Arbor View School, and with her University's Summer Speech and Debate Camp to coach all forms of debate and IEs. Melanie graduated from University of La Verne with Summa Cum Laude Honors and a BA in Speech Communication and Gender, Law, and Policy in 2015. She is now a Master's of Public Administration Candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at University of Washington and she is currently an assistant coach for Pacific Lutheran's British Parliamentary debate team. Melanie's education and work has focused primarily on social policy, including topics such as poverty, housing policy, employment, child well-being, and gender equity. She particularly enjoys coaching and watching LD debate and platform IEs due these events' structures allowing students to deeply engage with the morals and narratives associated with the social policy issues that she is passionate about. 


Ryan Hartman

Ryan participated for four years in Public Forum debate at Mount Si High School. In-state success includes fourteen 1st place finishes, one State 1st place finish, one state 2nd place finish, and one State top speaker award. National circuit success includes 3 TOC qualifications (6 career bids), two TOC speaker awards (20th and 5th), one TOC octafinals finish, and one Berkeley semifinals finish.


Serena Fitzgerald

Serena did LD on both progressive and traditional circuits for 4 years in high school, and advanced to elimination rounds in bid tournaments and at state. She also did some private coaching online via video chat (for mostly LD and PF) in the last few months. Serena did various IEs all throughout high school, and won (WA) state in oratory 2015 and tried nearly every IE offered in Washington. She was team captain for 3 years of high school and responsible for training novices in all events (especially oratory, expository, impromptu, and extemp).

​Russell Skorina

Russell qualified for semifinals of nationals in congressional and repeatedly was ranked among the top congress competitors at tournament after tournament he attended.  He coached a group of novice debaters to great success, including one top 15 finish at the state tournament. He qualified for the state tournament every year he attempted. He coached a team of novices to regional success at every different style of IE event. He is an active member of the Colorado College Speech and Debate Team. He created, from scratch, introductions to speeches for every kind of speech and debate event.


Tiffany Wilhelm

In her first round of coaching, Tiffany Wilhelm coached both policy and LD at Auburn High School. Her students won first place in LD at The Glenbrooks, The Barkley Forum, and Berkeley, with numerous LD students qualifying for Nationals and TOC. Her top finishing LD debater took 13th place at Nationals. She has coached many IE students including sending a Duo Interp team to Nationals as well as many successful Oratories. Now back to the activity, she currently coaches in Congress, qualifying a student to state in 2015 and earning state bids in individual events the last two years.

Isaiah Parker

Isaiah Parker has been coaching in the land of Interpretation since he graduated in 2008. Finding an Interper’s strength and skill is one of his many talents. His coaching has led to MANY state champions, State Finalist, and national Qualifiers. Outside of Speech, Isaiah is a part time Actor, having performed in theaters such as 5th Avenue, Village Theater, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, and many more. Come and bring all of your talents and energy to be molded into something amazing.


Sarah Sherry

Sarah Sherry is one of Washington state’s most respected and successful coaches. She is a triple diamond NSDA coach. Sarah won the 2013 WSFA Coach of the Year Award, was a select NFHS Coach in 2006, and her teams regularly advance into elimination rounds at local and national tournaments including placing 4th at the state tournament. She has developed extensive and excellent coaching resources and is ready to help you build your program.