Kris Wright

Director of NSD Middle School

Kris Wright

Kris Wright has been coaching debate for over thirteen years. He coached LD Most recently, he was the Director of Debate for the Law Magnet High School in Dallas (2012-2016), where he coached LD and Policy debate. He is also the co-founder of the Texas Debate Collective (TDC), which is a 501(c)(3) organization that aims to positively impact the educational opportunities for low-income students by expanding their access to debate. 

Kris brings to his role at NSD Middle School extensive experience being responsible for developing and overseeing large summer camps and school programs. For the last eight years, he has directed some of the nation’s most successful summer debate camps. In addition to Director of Debate, Kris also worked as the Law Magnet’s Magnet Coordinator, which meant having administrative duties for the the first half of each day. Kris dealt with student discipline, oversaw the school admissions process, mediated parent-teacher conferences, conducted professional development sessions for teachers, was the lead for a department of seven teachers. and designed school-wide curriculum for high schoolers. 

Kris also has experience working with middle school students. He previously directed a one- week middle school camp for TDC. And while teaching full-time at the Law Magnet, Kris and the Law Magnet debate team volunteered to work with middle school debaters in Dallas ISD. 

As a camp director, Kris has designed curriculum for some of the nation’s most successful LD debate camps, including TDC’s innovative Teacher Institute. As a high school debate coach, Kris’s students have been successful nationally and locally in Dallas on one of the toughest circuits in the country. At the Law Magnet, Kris has coached dozens of qualifications to the TOC, NDCA, and NSDA Nationals. In his four years as Director, the Law Magnet twice won Debate Sweepstakes at their NSDA District tournament—in a district that includes the storied debate programs of Greenhill, Grapevine, Southlake and Plano ISD. Last year, Kris coached a Law Magnet LDer to earn 7 bids to the TOC, the 2016 TFA State Champion in Policy debate, and two Policy teams to qualify to the TOC, including an onto-finalist. Prior to coaching at the Law Magnet, Kris had exclusively coached LD, working for Marcus, Westlake, Southlake, and University School. His students achieved success on the local and national levels. In the span of six years, his LDers reached semis or better of TFA state five times, including the 2009 TFA State Champion and Top Speaker. He qualified a lot of students to the TOC & NSDA Nationals and to reach elimination rounds—including a semifinalist at the TOC and top-11 finishes at NSDA Nationals. Kris’ LD & Policy debaters have been invited to compete in elite round robins, including Greenhill, MBA, Stanford, Voices, Kandi King, University of Oklahoma, College Prep, Victory Briefs, Sunvitational, Bronx, Harvard, and the University of Texas at Austin. 

Tom Evnen has over 13 years of debate teaching experience

Tom Evnen has over 13 years of debate teaching experience

Curriculum Co-Director of NSD Middle School

Tom Evnen

Tom Evnen has a B.A. in philosophy from Swarthmore College, and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago. Over the last 13 years, he has worked as a full time classroom teacher, a director of debate, and an assistant debate coach, and has consistently been one of the most successful national circuit debate coaches in the country.

Tom brings to his role at NSD Middle School his experience teaching both middle school debate and philosophy at The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX. During Tom's tenure, Hockaday was consistently one of the top debate programs in the nation. In addition, Tom has been responsible for curriculum development and instruction at many of the best national debate camps across the country. 

Tom works with a student at the NSD Flagship Session

Tom works with a student at the NSD Flagship Session

Tom has worked as an active debate coach and educator for over a decade. He was been a full time teacher and debate coach at the Hockaday School (TX), and has also coached at University School (FL), Oxbridge Academy (FL), Lake Highland (FL), and La Jolla (CA). Tom’s students have cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions thirteen times, including four quarterfinalists, two semifinalists, and a finalist. Tom also coached students to the final round of LD at the NFL/NSDA National Tournament for three years in a row, and were victors in two of those three years. In addition, Tom’s students have reached finals or won championships at Apple Valley, Blake, Bronx, the Bronx Round Robin, Emory, Greenhill, the Greenhill Round Robin, Glenbrooks, Harvard, Stanford, St. Marks, Valley, and Yale. 

Tom met his wife when they were in high school, where she was a policy debater on his team. They now live in Nebraska and are the proud parents of two sons, Benjamin and Jonathan.

Kandi King

National Speech and Debate Association Hall of Fame Inductee, Texas Forensic Association Hall of Fame Inductee

Before retiring from Winston Churchill High School, Kandi King became one of the elite coaches in the country. She coached debate and taught as a classroom teacher for 30 years. During that time, Kandi’s students excelled at every level of competition. She coached a runner-up in LD at NSDA Nationals, a semi-finalist of the Tournament of Champions, and many other late elimination round participants at both tournaments. She coached 2 LD Champions and one runner-up of the prestigious TFA State—Texas’ highly-competitive state championship. 

Besides LD, her students also reached finals at NSDA Nationals in Extemp and Congress. And they won additional TFA State champions in Extemp (twice), Congress, and Public Forum debate. And her CX debate teams reached elimination rounds at TFA State and NSDA Nationals.

Kandi served on the NSDA Board of Directors for 18 years and has been honored as Texas Speech Teacher of the Year, Emory Barkley Forum Key Coach, and one of the nation’s premiere LD Round Robins—the Kandi King Round Robin—is named in recognition of Kandi’s exceptional career. She has also been inducted into the halls of fame for both the National Speech & Debate Association and the Texas Forensic Association. 

We are delighted that Kandi will be joining us this summer to share her knowledge and passion for speech & debate with a new generation of debaters and coaches. She will be joining the staff for the second week of NSD Middle School Institute.

Dino De La O

Dino De La O debated locally and nationally for four years at Law Magnet in Dallas, Texas, graduating in 2016. As a competitor, Dino qualified to the TFA State Tournament and advanced to elimination rounds 3 years in a row. He also qualified to the TOC his junior and senior year, receiving 7 bids his senior year. Dino championed the University of Houston Tournament, was the top speaker and semifinalist at the Grapevine and Strake Jesuit tournaments, and advanced to the elimination rounds of every octos bid tournament he attended his senior year. As a coach, Dino has taught at major national summer camps such as NSD and TDC, and his students have received 7 bids, won the Sunvitational, and won top speaker awards at the UT Austin Invitational and the UH Invitational. Currently, Dino is studying anthropology at the University of Houston and enjoys reading a wide variety of philosophy.


Nelson Okunlola

Northwestern University 2021

Nelson has debated for 2 years and reached a great level of success in a short period of time. In his first year competing, he qualified for the Texas Forensics Association state tournament (where he cleared to double octas and received the 7th speaker award). He also qualified for NSDA in congressional debate and the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in Orginal Oratory. In his second and final year of high school debate, Nelson qualified to the Tournament of Champions receiving bids at Greenhill and the University of Houston tournament. So far this year Nelson has cleared at every national tournament he's been too. He was the 4th speaker at the Greenhill Fall Classic, 7th speaker at the Strake Jesuit Debate Tournament, and 5th speaker at the University of Houston cougar classic. Nelson was also invited to the Newark Science Round Robin and the Strake Jesuit Round Robin. He plans on debating next year at Northwestern University. Additionally, Nelson has direct experience working with Middle School debaters, having worked with middle school debaters extensively. 

New and Exciting Staff will be Added Soon!