The Toronto Debate Academy offers debate and public speaking classes and workshops to middle and high school students and to private clients. Our instructors are highly successful competitive debaters themselves, with years of experience competing and judging across Canada and the world.

We offer weekly classes in North York and online. We also provide specialized workshops to academic and corporate clients. We adapt our curricula to suit your organization’s needs. To arrange for the Toronto Debate Academy to conduct a workshop at your school or workplace, please contact us.


Coaches

Rudi Lof

Rudi is a JD/MBA graduate who practiced law at a national firm before establishing the Toronto Debate Academy. Rudi is an accomplished competitive debater, and has spoken both at the National Championships and the World Universities Debating Championships. As a debate coach, Rudi has led students to success at the regional, provincial and national levels. His students’ recent competitive successes include winning the World Schools Debate Championships and winning the Jr. National Championships, as well as, multiple top-ten finishes and championships at regional events. In addition to coaching debate, Rudi teaches a class in Law at York University.

Mars He

Mars has a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University and debated in Canada throughout high school. He is a HWS Round Robin Finalist, Worlds’ University Debate Championships (WUDC) top 10 speaker and United States Universities Debate Championships champion. Previously, he’s been the President of the American Parliamentary Debate Association and a Chief Adjudicator for Harvard’s and Stanford’s debate tournaments and the North American Debate Championships. He currently coaches the Harvard College Debating Union.

Joanna Nairn

Joanna has 10 years experience as a practicing lawyer at firms in Washington, D.C. and Toronto. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for Mr. Justice Morris Fish at the Supreme Court of Canada. She was a competitive debater for many years, winning the World Universities Debating Championships, the North American Debating Championships, and many other tournaments in Canada and around the world. She has also served on numerous adjudication teams, including as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator at the World Universities Debating Championships.

Alexandra (“Lex”) Sundarsingh

Lex has a BA in Political Science and an MA in History from the University of Toronto. She is currently pursuing a PhD in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  She is a World University Debate Championships (WUDC) quarterfinalist, the champion of the Yale IV, a 2 time finalist at the Cambridge IV and a 2 time quarterfinalist at the Oxford IV as well as reaching elimination rounds in over a dozen other tournaments. She has also been the Chief Adjudicator at the North American Debate Championships and North American Women’s Debate Championships in addition to judging numerous elimination rounds at other events.

Alice Jones

Alice Jones is a current Master of Public Policy student at the University of Auckland, having completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics & International Relations and Psychology) and Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Commercial Law) in 2019. Alice has been active in the debate and speech community for more than ten years, with significant experience as a participant, organizer, and coach. During her undergrad, Alice was ranked among the top 200 speakers at the World University Debating Championship in Thailand, and Champion of Pacific Cup in 2018. Alice has been a Chief Adjudicator of several tournaments in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, with judge and speaker breaks at the United States Universities Western Regional Championship, Hugill Cup, Seattle Intervarsity, UBC Womxn’s, and Harvard’s World Schools and Forensics tournaments. Alice coaches British Parliamentary, Canadian Nationals, Australs/World Schools style, Public Forum, and public speaking.

Alykhan Jetha

Alykhan is a first-year student of Economics and International Relations at the University of Toronto. As a member of the Canadian National Debate Team he represented Canada at tournaments across 4 continents, including the World Competition and the Pan-Americans. He also succeeded in national competitions, winning the Canadian National Championship and the prestigious Hart House High School Competition in 2018. He has been debating for 8 years and is also a former TDA student.

Amin Mosam

Amin holds a BA from the University of Toronto in Political Science and Philosophy. Amin has debated at dozens of tournaments at the high school and university level, notably winning a speaker award at 2017 Chancellor’s Cup, Seagrams Cup 2019. Amin also is an experienced adjudicator, notably breaking at the 2019 Hart House Inter-Varsity. In the past Amin was executive of the University of Toronto’s Hart House Debate Society, where he organized and delivered a wide array of training seminars to university debaters.

Ana Gabriele Sabancevaite

Debating has been a part of Ana Gabriele’s life since she started off as a novice debater in 2007. She has gained recognition in national and global competitions alike, most notably, receiving a Runner-up award for English as Foreign Language at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Competition (WIDPSC ’09). Ana Gabriele began to coach debating in her senior year of high school and has trained middle school, high school and university students alike. Having a Masters Degree in Politics & Sociology from NYU, Ana is pursuing a degree in pedagogy and is keen to apply the new knowledge & skills towards coaching.

Anna-Kate Lembke

Anna-Kate is a sophomore at Brown University studying English. She debated public forum in high school for four years and was the captain of her team. She and her high school debate partner qualified to the TOC and NSDA nationals, and their highest ranking was #15 in the nation. Anna-Kate and her partner also started the gender empowerment initiative Beyond Resolved. Now she is a member of the Brown Debating Union, and has had competitive success at APDA tournaments. She has coaching experience both in public speaking and in different forms of debate.

Archie Stapleton

Archie Stapleton will begin Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard University in September 2021, and graduated with an Honours degree in Philosophy at the University of British Columbia in 2020. He was the Captain of the Western Australian Debating Team in 2015, coming in the top 10 speakers at the Australian National Debating Tournament in 2014 and 2015. At university, Archie won the Hugill Cup 2016, broke at Brandeis, broke at the Novice Championships at UBC, and was elected the training director of the University of British Columbia debating society in 2016. Archie has coached debate for over 5 years, taking students to the break rounds at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Western Australian Debating League, BC Provincial championships, NSDL China, as well as having one student make Team Canada in 2020. He is an expert in Public Forum, British & Canadian Parliamentary, Mock Trial, Public Speaking, and Australs/World School styles. Currently he prepares students in TDA’s competitive Public Forum program, which most recently has won both Chinese and American tournaments.

Ashley Pinheiro

Ashley is a Comms & Political Science student at Carleton University. They have broken as a speaker at tournaments such as Hart House IV, Leger Central Canadian Championship & NAU*WDC.  In addition to debating, Ashley has been a part of six Adj-Cores & has chaired outrounds such as the CP National Semi-Final, Lord Dorchester Cup Final & HHIV Novice Final. They are the former President of Carleton Debate and Speech.

Daniel Svirsky

Daniel is a second-year student studying Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. Entering his fifth competitive year, he has found success both in the Canadian high school circuit and international university circuit. In his novice year alone, Daniel has broken at Cornell Online Novice Nationals (Semi-Finalist), HartHouse IV (Novice Finalist), Queens Chancellor’s Cup (Semi-Finalist), McGill Central Novice (Semi-Finalist), and Estonian Open (Champion and Top Speaker). He has judged many elimination rounds for high school tournaments and is serving as the executive director for the Canadian University Intercollegiate Society for Debate (CUSID) in the upcoming year.

Darius Jokubas

Darius holds a BSc degree in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE). Currently, he is finishing his Masters in Communication Science with a research focus on rhetorical persuasion at the University of Amsterdam. In high school, Darius became a national public speaking champion and successfully represented Lithuania in the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC ‘16) where he reached the semi-finals. Darius has over 5 years of experience in teaching World Schools Debating (WSDC) and public speaking. Throughout these years working with the Debate Centre of Lithuania he has hosted multiple lectures and worked with kids of various ages. Darius hopes to utilize his academic and practical knowledge of public speaking to help students develop their skills of persuasion.

Dino De La O

Dino has a BA in Anthropology from UT Austin and debated in the United States throughout high school. He qualified twice to the Tournament of Champions, and, as a senior, he ranked 5th for the most bids to the TOC with a total of 7. Dino has reached eliminate rounds of some of the most prestigious TOC qualifying tournaments in the U.S. including Greenhill (TX), St. Marks (TX), and Harvard (MA). As a coach, sixteen of Dino’s students have qualified to the TOC. Seven have advanced to elimination rounds, including one quarterfinalist. Additionally, his students have championed Yale (CT), Lexington (MA), the Valley RR (IA), the Strake RR (TX), the Lake Highland RR (FL), and several TOC semi/final bid tournaments.

Emily Xie

Emily is a student at the University of Western Ontario, currently studying Computer Science. She has broken at the North American Debate Championships, the North American Women and Gender minorities Debate Championship (finalist), Hart House IV (novice champion), Centennial Cup (finalist), and the Central Novice Debating Championship (semi-finalist). She has also broken as a judge at several university tournaments, such as the Canadian Parliamentary National Debate Championship, Leger Cup, and Seagram’s IV.

Eric Kazadi

Eric is an Environmental Policy & Management student, majoring in Geography and Politics, at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has a decade’s worth of competitive debating experience, and is a World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) semifinalist, a World University Debating Championships (WUDC) ESL quarterfinalist, a Doxbridge Worlds ESL Finalist and was formerly the Vice President of his university’s debate club, the Wits Debating Union. Eric is also experienced as an adjudicator with judge breaks at WUDC, Cambridge IV and Princeton IV amongst many others. He now dedicates most of his time to coaching and coaches the South African WSDC team.

Isaac Hordiyuk

Isaac has a BA in Political Science with minors in History and Geography from the University of Toronto. He has reached elimination rounds at over a dozen university tournaments, including the Yale IV, Canadian Parliamentary Nationals, and North American Championships, and has won or received a top speaker prize from more than half a dozen other tournaments. He has more than five years of coaching experience, working with various private and school-run programs in Canada and internationally. As a high school debater, he won or received top speaker prizes at more than a dozen tournaments.

Ksenia Podvoiskaia

Ksenia holds a Bachelors of Education and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in history from Queen’s University. Currently, she is completing her Masters in History, also at Queen’s. She is a Canadian National Debating Champion, a Central Canadian National Debating Champion, a breaking World University Debate Championship (WUDC) debater, a 2 time finalist in the North American Women and Gender Minorities Tournament, and an experienced adjudicator. Ksenia is also a former President of the Queen’s Debating Union.

Layla Moumin

Layla is in the third year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto studying political science and criminology. She has competed at numerous tournaments throughout high school, winning provincial championships in Saskatchewan and making it to the semi-finals of Junior Nationals. While a member of the Hart House Debate Club, Layla was a finalist and second place speaker at the McGill Central Novice Championship as well as a quarter-finalist at the Seagram IV.

Lidya Andreani

Lidya has a Bachelor of Economics and Commerce and a Masters of Applied Finance from Monash University, Australia. Lidya is an accomplished competitive debater and has spoken and judged at the World Universities Debating Championships and Australasian Debating Championship. As a debate coach, Lidya has led students to success at the national, Australasian, and International level. Her students’ recent competitive successes include breaking and becoming top 10 speakers at Worlds Schools Debate Championship, as well as multiple top-ten finishes and championships on the Australasian debating circuit. Lidya has broken as a judge at 20+ international debating tournaments. Most recently, Lidya was the chair judge for the University of Sydney School Debating Championship. In addition to coaching and judging debate, Lidya has a forthcoming publication at Oxford Political Review.

Natallie Chow

Natallie is a Medical Sciences student at Western University. She has broken as a speaker at tournaments such as Canadian British Parliamentary Championships, Chancellor’s Cup, McMaster ProAms and Evodio Cup. She was the Deputy Chief Adjudicator at Canadian Parliamentary Nationals (2021) and has broken as a judge at CP Nationals and Western IV. In addition, she is a three time ICDC qualifier for DECA and is a 2nd place ICDC winner in the category of Franchise Business Plan.

Nicholas DeVito

Nicholas DeVito is a current senior at Tufts University, where he majors in both quantitative economics and political science, concentrating in East Asia, along with a minor in finance. He has been involved in competitive debating for 7 years, both as a participant and coach. In high school, Nick championed the Harvard Invitational, the Tournament of Champions, and the National Speech and Debate Championship. Along with this, he was ranked as number one in the nation in Congressional Debate. In college, Nick finished his last competitive season as 3rd Speaker of the Year and 2nd Team of the Year as a member of the Tufts Debate Society. He also broke top 10 at several large BP tournaments such as the Brandeis Invitational and the US Universities Debating Championship. Outside of competition, Nick has coached students over a wide range of skills and debate formats too; his students have reached elimination rounds at nearly every major national tournament in US debate, and topped national rankings.

Ray Smith

Ray is a Public Speaking teacher who has also taught Theater and Spanish. Currently he works as a public speaking coach for ESP (English for Specific Purposes) students entering graduate schools in the U.S. He has also coached TED talk speakers, teachers and school administrators. From 2011-2018, Ray was a high school Speech and Debate coach in Virginia. During his tenure he coached many students to top 3 places in the Virginia Catholic Forensics League and Shenandoah Valley Forensics League. He led many qualifiers to the Virginia District NSDA tournaments, and under his eye many students broke to elimination rounds at invitationals such as James Madison University, University of Pennsylvania and William and Mary. Ray coached students who qualified for NSDA Nationals and NCFL Grand Nationals. During his term, the team was top 10 in NSDA’s Virginia ranks every year.

Rokas Keršys

Rokas holds a BA in social and humanitarian sciences from The Paris Institute of Political Studies. Starting as the head-coach of his high school debate club, Rokas produced multiple national champions as well as World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) delegates for the Lithuanian National Team, including some of the best speakers in Lithuanian history. As a debater, Rokas became a national champion of Lithuania in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 2014 he was part of the Lithuanian delegation to WSDC Thailand. Following his experience in world schools debating and coaching, he moved on to British Parliamentary by establishing a BP debating club at his university in France. Having taught debating in Lithuania, France and The Netherlands to a wide array of age groups from middle-school kids to university students, Rokas brings debating expertise alongside flexibility to adapt to every student’s needs.

Serena Yuan

Serena is a student at the University of Toronto studying Life Science. She has been debating for four years in the Ontario high school and university circuits and has broken at the Womxn and Gender Minorities Online Debate Open (novice champion), the Central Novice Debating Championship (semi-finalist), the Canada Cup (champion), McGill BP Debating Tournament (champion), and Harvard World Schools Invitational (quarter-finalist). As a first-time university judge, she broke at the North American University Debate Championships this year. She has also chaired elimination rounds at many high school tournaments over the past two years.

Simonas Bartulis

Simonas has been involved in debate since 2009, when he participated in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Lithuania. Since then, he became a WSDC debater and represented Lithuania in WSDC 2013 as a debater, 2015 as a judge, and 2016-17 as the national coach. Simonas actively participated in BP debates while studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Yale-NUS College, Singapore. At his club, he was the training and tournament manager, and represented the college in WUDC 2016 (where he was 9th ESL speaker) and 2017. He was also a finalist in the Asian BP Championship 2016.

Dr. Steven Murray

Dr. Murray holds a BA in economics from Trinity University, an MA in communication from Baylor University and a PhD in Rhetoric from the University of Georgia. Steven was a highly competitive and nationally successful debater in high school and college, including multiple tournament wins, high place finishes in several national championship formats, and too many top speaker awards to count. Dr. Murray has coached high school debate since 2010 and college debate since 2013. His students have shown success at the local, state, and national level, including multiple national championships. Dr. Murray was an early pioneer of digital learning, with over a decade of experience teaching debate online. Dr. Murray privileges argumentative flexibility, on-the-fly thinking, and creative navigation of the debate space. He currently serves as a professor of communication studies at the University of Georgia and SUNY New Paltz.

Wadika Faisal

Wadika is a Civil Engineering student at Lakehead University. As a high school student, she co-founded her school’s debate society and went on to compete at numerous tournaments. Now, as a university-level speaker, she has broken at the UofA McGoun Cup (Semi-Finalist), UBC Pacific Cup (Novice Champion), and has been a Judge at ZUDC (Finals Panellist) and SFU Worlds Schools (Finals Panelist). Wadika has three years of experience working with elementary, middle, and high school-aged students either through the capacity of being a volunteer or as a debate coach. When she isn’t debating, you’ll find her working on her podcast.

Zach Bloom

Zach is in his final year of an Honours Philosophy Major at the University of British Columbia. He has been involved in competitive debate for almost a decade. In high school, he was the captain of his school’s debate team and regularly broke at DANEIS debate tournaments throughout New England. As a University Student, he has competed in British Parliamentary debate, notably earning the 4th speaker award at the WCNC at UBC. Zach has four years of experience working with middle and high school aged children. As a debate coach, Zach has had a number of his students break and win tournaments, recently at St. Johns in Vancouver.