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Climb Staff Bios


Climb Speech & Debate Staff

Learn more about our Staff 


Jim Hanson

Executive Director

Mr. Hanson is responsible for the instructional creation and organization of the Foundation.  Mr. Hanson has been a Professor of Communication, Rhetoric and Argument and speech and debate coach for most of his life.  As 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, and first place NPDA speaker (Miranda Morton) as well as over 1000 debate awards and 500 individual speaking events awards


Kenny 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.  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.


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 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.


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.

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Natalie Neumeier

Camp Assistant Director

Natalie has worked with Climb since April 2021, helping with the 400+ students that participated in our April-May programs. She has worked with younger kids at her dance studio teaching them how to dance. She has also helped children at We Rock the Spectrum Federal Way in learning how to develop the social skills needed for life. She has also fundraised for her Church's annual garage sale. She is ready to help Jim and all the Climb participants at the camp!


Julie Badgley

Elementary and MS Lab Leader

Julie has worked with Climb the Mountain for the 2020-2021 year providing instruction to elementary and middle school students. Julie has participated in debate at the award winning University of Washington Bothell program. She has also done extemporaneous and impromptu speaking and has won several awards. She will give you clear feedback to make you a better debater.


Laura Roark

Elementary and MS Lab Leader

Laura is a great instructor for Climb. She has worked with elementary and middle school students and brought them to much success.

Laura partnered with beginners, coaching them as far as out-rounds at national level tournaments in under a year. In Western Washington University Laura competes in PNW debate and Policy and has finaled at every tournament in which she has competed. She is ready to do the same for you--making you a great debater.


Nico Roshau

Middle School 3 on 3 Parli Lab Leader

Nico works for Climb and Aurorae Young providing coaching to many middle school debaters who have done very well at tournaments. Nico has also won many speaker awards in this event. Nico has done three years of interp, and one of oratory. She broke at state in two interp events (DI and DUO) as well as oratory and also qualified for nationals in OO. She provides high quality instruction and coaching.

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Skye Cordero

 Elementary, MS, and HS Lab Leader

Skye has been an instructor with Climb for much of the 2020-21 year. In middle and high school, Skye Cordero competed in Lincoln Douglas debate and placed at both the Washington's State Debate Tournament and NCFL Nationals. She was first in the Greater Spokane League's Lincoln Douglas debate. She also coached her peers in LD debate.  As a high schooler, she went to state for Original Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation and Performance of Oral Interpretation. She received numerous award at a local level in all three events. She is ready to give you the instruction you need to improve.


Yanti Sanusi

Elementary and MS Lab Leader

Yanti is a homeschool mom, yoga teacher, and enthusiastic debate instructor. In high school she competed in Original Oratory and Interp and received more than 30 awards. She won first place at multiple public speaking competitions, received the University of Florida Scholarship Award for Debate, and twice qualified for CFL Nationals. Yanti has coached elementary, middle and high school students and is ready to help you become a great debater.


Staff Bios


We will update the Staff Bios in the upcoming weeks. 

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).

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.

Ethan Phillips

Camp Assistant Director

Ethan has been involved in debate as a judge and as an assistant for Jim for the past year. He has experience in administrative work, fundraising, organizational, and outreach work for the FIRST Robotics Competition team, and the Iron Riders. Ethan brings those talents to the Climb camp for a second year along with excellent judging at middle school debate tournaments. Ethan has a great memory and helps with laptops, photography, and camp attendance. He is friendly and ready to help.

Blakely Rudolph

MS and HS Lab Leader

Blakely debated her sophomore year of high school all the way to her senior year, mostly participating in congressional debate. Her junior year she qualified for state debate and her senior year qualified for NCFL nationals in congressional debate. She has been to 15+ tournaments and was a captain on the team her final year on Mead High School's debate team. Now she participates on Whitworth's forensics team. During her years in high school debate, Blakely participated in oratorical speaking and POI.

Kailey Wilson

Elementary and MS Lab Leader

Kailey has worked with Climb the Mountain since 2019. She is a kind and supportive instructor who has worked with our elementary and middle school students. Her students have gone on to win multiple awards. She has worked with many young kids including in programs besides debate. She is studying elementary school education ​at Seattle University to become a teacher.

Lucas Watson

LD Lab Leader

Lucas debates Policy and PNW debate at Western Washington University and returns for a third year with Climb. He debated for over three years at a high school level (PF: 1 year, LD: 2 years). He was involved in the instruction/education of teammates throughout his last two HS years as Debate Captain of his high school team. Most recently, he coached LD for Eastside Catholic High School with one of his debaters getting top 4 at State and qualifying to Nationals.

Peter Litster

Elementary and MS Lab Leader

Pete has worked with Climb for nearly a year. He was a successful speaker and debater. He also taught at the Sun Country Forensics Institute in Utah. He earned four industrial-sized totes worth of trophies in multiple events over 3 years spanning local, regional, state, national, NFL division and NFL nationals resulting in the 1993 Maurice Warshaw Political Science Scholarship (Full ride) at the University of Utah. 

Thadeus Smith

LD Lab Leader

Thadeus has worked in Climb's afterschool program for over two years and has competed for four years in high school, breaking to state outrounds in Public Forum his senior year. In 2018 and 2019, he competed at NSDA Nationals in World's Schools Debate, placing 44th and 10th respectively. Over the summers, he teaches club debate to middle/high schoolers with Capitol Debate. He also volunteers as a platform speech coach for Thomas Jefferson High School

Tyler Durbin

MS Lab Leader

Tyler has worked with Climb extensively and has been a leader in beginning the Greater Seattle Debate League. Tyler competed in debate for seven years - four years of high school policy debate (breaking to elimination rounds at the NSDA national tournament his senior year) and three years of college. Tyler has competed in impromptu and extemporaneous speaking in his four years of high school competition and for two years in college. 

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