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We have a staff of around a dozen adults who work with the students at team meetings. The staff is comprised of college students, to whom we pay a small stipend, volunteers from the community, and team parents.

Julie Herman (pictured right with Los Altos DH) is the director of the Mountain View-Los Altos district Speech and Debate Team. Before taking the lead position in 2015, she led the Parli squad at MVLA (2011-2014) and was Head Coach at Prospect High School (2012-2014). Students trained by her have been champions at the CHSSA State Tournament, Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, Stanford Tournament, and Yale Tournament (to name a few) and have qualified for the NSDA National Tournament. Although her students have graduated and gone on to attend prestigious universities, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, U Chicago, and Yale, she spends a lot of time telling them that it's not the fanciness of the university that counts but how right in yourself it makes you feel. Her day job is not this, but she often wishes it were. Julie is excited to pass on her experience of speech and debate as family to students in the MVLA district.

Former Head Coach Teri Young and former MVLA competitor Zoe Morgan (LA'14) act as Assistant Coaches to Ms. Herman. Mrs. Young is a community volunteer, former debater, and coach, who assists with with web development and administration. Ms. Morgan is a former competitor in Lincoln-Douglas and Parliamentary debate. During her undergraduate, she competed in the American Parliamentary Debate League. She helps with general administration, as well as LD coaching.


Our Parliamentary Debate coaches are Sierra Maciorowski, Steven Herman, and Shirley Cheng.

Sierra debated for Sonoma Academy in high school, where she finished the 2014-2015 season ranked #10 individually in Parliamentary debate, reaching finals at NPDI and quarters at the Tournament of Champions. During a gap year, she competed in British Parli while in Europe, and for the Santa Rosa Junior College in NPDA Parli, ending her NPDA career ranked #21 nationally. In 2015, Sierra started her coaching career with private students and middle-schoolers at Sonoma Country Day School, and she serves as a director and instructor for the middle and high school programs at the POI Debate Institute. Her students have both qualified to and won the Parli Tournamnt of Champions and the Parli division at the CHSSA state tournament. A senior at Stanford, she enjoys travelling, reading, and hiking, and spends most of her free time taking pictures of her experimental cupcake recipes.  

Steven debated parli for MVLA in high school, finishing both the 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 season ranked first, reaching finals at TOC both years. With Spencer Dembner, his team was the Parli Champions at the 2015 Stanford Invitational and at the SCU Dempsey Cronin. Continuing in college, he won the 2017 SCU Copeland Invitational and competed at nationals. Steven started coaching his freshman year for Notre Dame High School and is an instructor for the SCU Summer Workshop. He has qualified multiple students to the Parli TOC. As a Senior Computer Engineering major at Santa Clara, he enjoys backpacking, computer programming, and playing games.

Our Public Forum Debate coaches are Michael Wu and Sanjim Uppal.

Michael debated for the MVLA team from 2012-2015. Competing in Congressional debate, he served as co-captain of the congress team during the 2014-2015 school year. He took first place in Congressional debate at the 2013 Fall SCU tournament. During his senior year, he began debating in public forum, advancing to the quarterfinal round at the 2015 Spring SCU tournament. In 2015, Michael started his coaching career with the YFL program at Egan Junior High School, coaching impromptu speech. A recent graduate of Santa Clara University, he enjoys cooking, astronomy, and music, and spends most of his free time watching shows on Netflix.

Our LD coaches are Zoe Morgan and Pearlin Liu.

Lilly Hackworth, Kevin Thurber and Pearlin Liu are our speech coaches.

Lilly coaches Spontaneous speech for MVLA. She debated for Notre Dame San Jose and MVLA in high school, finishing the 2016-2017 season ranked first in parli after winning eleven tournament championships including the Tournament of Champions, Stanford, and SCU. She also competed in impromptu and extemp throughout high school, reaching finals at the CHSSA State Tournament junior year and placing seventh at NSDA Nationals senior year in domestic extemp. In impromptu, she consistently placed in the top two at tournaments such as the Jon Schamber, SCU, and Stephen Stewart Invitationals. She started coaching as an instructor at POI Debate Institute and has since continued private coaching. As a third year at the University of Chicago majoring in computer science and political science, she enjoys running, hiking, and reading in her free time.


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