Our Administrative Team
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. Then, in 2004, a “salon style” program in Interp events, Interpretive Productions (InterProd) was introduced to institute programming, followed by Oratory and the Extemp Lab (EXL) in 2007. With 23 years of experience, Summit Debate is excited to introduce Middle School labs to all events in 2018.
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 and her husband David Kraft, formed InterProd, and in 2010 created InterProd Theatre, which produced the 2010 New York City Planet Connections Theatre Festivities best Solo Show “Dig and Be Dug.” 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.
Dario Camara | Operations Director
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 two 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 biggest Speech and Debate leagues in the country. Last year, 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 two National Forensic League National Champions and four National Catholic Forensic Champions. Dario has also coached various students to elimination rounds of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Apple Valley, Glenbrook, 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 three times, Florida Forensic League State Coach of the Year (2012) 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). Dario is currently the Director of Operations of Summit Debate.
Steven Schappaugh | Debate Director
Steven Schappaugh is the Director of Community Engagement and Director of Competition for the National Tournament at the National Speech and Debate Association. In his role, he oversees resource development for speech and debate professional development opportunities for educators, the Rostrum magazine, student programs, the national tournament tab staff operations, and more.
Prior to joining the NSDA, 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 Individual students have won a national championship 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. Students of his have been in late elimination rounds at tournaments such as Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, Bronx, Greenhill, Valley, Dowling Catholic Paradigm, Yale, Harvard, Emory, and more.