meet Our Administration

Summit Debate was founded in 1995 by Jenny Cook, Executive Director. The name Summit Debate was influenced by a historic road, Summit Avenue, known for showcasing some of the grandest homes in the Twin Cities area. Summit Avenue was just a short walk from where Cook lived, and in her mind, the name Summit captured the image of “making it to the top”; thus the motto “Reach for the Summit”. The first institute opened in the summer of 1997 with the National Debate Forum (NDF) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Public Forum Debate. We added interpretation events in 2004, followed by Oratory and Extemporaneous Speaking in 2007. With more than two decades of experience running summer institute, we have become the one of the largest providers for summer speech and debate enrichment. 

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Jenny Cook

Executive Director

Jenny Cook is the President of Summit Debate Enterprises, which she started in 1995. Summit Debate conducts national debate and speech institutes for high school students and provides resources and outreach for high school competitive debate and speech programs across the country. She is the former Director of Arts at University School of Nova Southeastern University (2005-2015), a pre-K through 12 private school in Davie, Florida. During her tenure as an arts administrator, she oversaw one of the premier arts programs in South Florida, where many of her students went on win local, state, and national awards in music, theatre, film, debate and speech.

In 2004, Jenny helped bring interpretation events to Summit Debate and by 2007 had added all major speech events to the summer programs.  Under her leadership, Summit Debate has expanded to three sessions where they educate more than 500 students a summer - making them one of the largest options for debate enrichment in the summer.

In addition, she holds a Masters Degree in Management and Administration of Educational Programs. For over two decades, she has coached several national, regional and state champions in high school competitive debate and speech events.  Jenny is also a three diamond coach of the National Speech and Debate Association.

You can email Jenny at jenny@summitdebate.com.

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Dario Camara

Operations Director

Director of Forensics & AP Seminar Teacher
Western High School (FL)

Dario Camara is the currently the director of Speech and Debate at Western High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As a National Speech and Debate three diamond coach, Dario has coached many successful students in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Interpretation, Oratory and Congressional Debate. Recently, Western High School was awarded the coveted School of Outstanding Distinction along with the 2017 Congressional House National Champion at the 2017 NSDA National tournament. As the Director of the South Florida Catholic Forensic League, Dario also oversees the organization of local chapters in Broward and Dade counties, which is responsible for one of the largest Speech and Debate leagues in the country. In 2016, Dario was an Educator of the Year finalist for the National Speech and Debate Association.

Dario has coached several students to the out rounds of the Tournament of Champions in both Lincoln Douglas Debate and Student Congress and is responsible for three National Speech & Debate Association National Champions and four National Catholic Forensic Champions. Dario has also coached various students to elimination rounds of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Apple Valley, Glenbrooks, Bronx and other national tournaments. Dario also has coached in New Jersey and Florida, making him very familiar with different regional styles.

While under these programs, Dario was part of a New Jersey State Champion team for eight consecutive years and has won several Florida state championships in Speech & Debate. He has also won the University of Florida Gator Guard, the Florida Forensic League Regional Coach of the Year four times, Florida Forensic League State Coach of the Year (2012 & 2018) and he is a recipient of the Jenny Cook Coaching and Service award. While at Christopher Columbus, Dario also received the Teacher of the Year (2015 Explorer Award).

You can email Dario at info@summitdebate.com.

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Jeffrey Miller

director of public forum debate & marketing

Director of Speech & Debate
Marist School (GA)

Jeffrey Miller is the Director of Speech & Debate for Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia. As a National Speech & Debate two diamond coach, Jeffrey has coached many successful students in public forum debate, policy debate, extemporaneous speaking and oratory.  Since joining Marist in 2012, his teams have finished top ten nationally eight times since Jeffrey joined us in 2012 — 5th in 2014 (public forum), 9th in 2015 (policy), 9th in 2016 (policy and public forum), 9th in 2017 (policy), 5th in 2017 (public forum), 9th in 2018 (public forum), and 3rd in 2019 (in public forum).

Jeffrey has coached several students to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions in both public forum debate and extemporaneous speaking.  He has coached more than 100 students to qualify for NCFL Nationals and NSDA Nationals in just the past eight years.  His public forum teams have reached elimination rounds at virtually every TOC qualifier in the country from Arizona State to Emory to Apple Valley. 

During his teaching career, he has been recognized in several ways as an educator. In 2011, he was recognized by the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association as the Peach Fuzz Coaching Award recipient - given to the best young coach in their first five years of directing a program. In 2012, he was recognized by the Georgia Forensic Coaches Association as the Debate Coach of the Year - becoming the youngest ever to win this accolade. In 2013, he was recognized by the National Debate Coaches Association with the Rising Star Award - an honor given to a coach in their first five years who has achieved national success. In 2016 and 2018, the NSDA recognized Jeffrey’s service with NSDA Don Crabtree Distinguished Service Awards. In 2018, the National Speech & Debate Association named him the Georgia Debate Educator of the Year.

You can email Jeff at jeff@summitdebate.com.

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Steve Schappaugh

director of staff and student development

Associate Principal
Des Moines North High School (IA)

Steven Schappaugh is an Associate Principal at North High School in Des Moines, Iowa. In his role, he focuses on ensuring a quality education for all students by collaborating with teachers on engagement, classroom management, and teaching strategies. Steve was a student in Des Moines Public Schools and is excited to return to the district to support equitable opportunities for all students to maximize their potential. 

Previously, Steve served as the Director of Community Engagement and Director of Competition for the National Tournament at the National Speech and Debate Association. In his role, he oversaw resource development for speech and debate, professional development opportunities for educators, the Rostrum magazine, student programs, the national tournament tab staff operations, and more.

Steve has a rich history of coaching speech and debate. He served as the Director of Speech and Debate and Associate Director for Student Life at University School in Fort Lauderdale. Under his guidance, the University School team was ranked in the top one percent of all teams by the National Speech and Debate Association. Additionally, he was elected to serve on the Association’s Board of Directors, served as a District Chair, and served on the LD Rules and Recommendations Committee. As a coach at University School, Dowling Catholic, Myers Park, and Des Moines North, his students have won numerous state championships in Iowa, Florida, and North Carolina in LD, PF, HI, DI, OO, EXT, and DUO. At Nationals, his school has received the Overall School of Excellence, Debate School of Excellence, and Speech School of Excellence awards. Individual students have won a national championship in in Humorous Interpretation and reached finals in Congressional Debate, semifinals in Duo Interpretation and International Extemp, and elimination rounds in LD, PF, DI, and OO. He has had students win the Tournament of Champions in PF Debate, as well as advance as far as semifinals in LD Debate, and final in Congressional Debate. His students have also reached late elimination rounds at tournaments such as Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, Bronx, Greenhill, Valley, Dowling Catholic Paradigm, Yale, Harvard, Emory, and more.

You can email Steve at steve@summitdebate.com.