Jake Nebel is Executive Director of Victory Briefs and a PhD candidate in Philosophy at New York University. He holds an AB in Philosophy from Princeton and a BPhil in Philosophy from Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. As a debater for Trinity Prep (FL), Jake reached finals of Harvard (three times), Greenhill (twice), the Glenbrooks (twice), the New York City Invitational (twice), the Barkley Forum at Emory, Yale, the Bronx Round Robin, the MBA Round Robin, the VBT Round Robin, the Vassar Round Robin, the FFL State Championship, and NSDA Nationals—winning most of those. He was named Top Speaker at the Tournament of Champions, Greenhill, Harvard, the New York City Invitational (twice), the Bronx Round Robin (twice), Yale (twice), the Vassar Round Robin, the Crestian Classic, and the FFL State Championship. As a coach for the Greenhill School (TX), Jake's students have won the Tournament of Champions, the NDCA National Championship, the Dukes & Bailey Cup, the Glenbrooks, the Harvard Round Robin, the New York City Invitational, Emory (twice), the TFA State Tournament, and other national, regional, and local championships. This will be his twelfth summer at VBI.
Chris Theis is Executive Director of Victory Briefs. This is his eleventh year at VBI. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley (MN). He has previously coached students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA), Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Winston Churchill (TX). As a coach, his students have reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions each of the past six seasons, and have placed in the top 6 of the NSDA National Tournament. His students have won nearly every major invitational tournament (some multiple times) including: Harvard, Greenhill, Stanford, the Minneapple, Emory, CPS, Lexington, Loyola, Damus, the Greenhill Round Robin, and others.
As a competitor, he was one of only two juniors to ever win the Tournament of Champions and is the only person to win it twice. He was the champion of Blake, Emory, the Iowa Round Robin twice, the Greenhill Round Robin twice, and St. Marks twice. Chris was also a semi finalist at Greenhill and the Glenbrooks, and a finalist at Berkeley. Chris was a four year qualifier to the NSDA National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas, U.S. Extemp Speaking, and Congressional Debate. This will be Chris's twelfth summer at VBI.
Director of Public Forum Debate
Jami Tanner is returning to VBI for her fourth year, as the Director of Public Forum Debate. Jami debated for Klein High School in Houston, TX, where she was the team president. She is a four-time TFA State qualifier, a three-time NSDA Nationals qualifier, and was the first to attend the TOC in her school’s history. Jami was ranked #1 in the nation by the NSDA’s Points Record in 2014, accumulated the most state points in Texas two years in a row, and was in the top 15 teams in the nation at the 2013 NSDA National Tournament in Public Forum debate. While her focus is PF, she was also the UIL 5A Undefeated State Champion in Lincoln Douglas debate her junior year. Jami has previously worked as a private coach for various pf teams and has coached debaters to both NSDA Nationals and the TOC. Last year, she served as the PF Curriculum Director for VBI. Jami currently studies Political Science at New York University, where she will begin her Master’s work in American Politics this fall.
Director of Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Marshall Thompson is the Director of Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Victory Briefs. Marshall debated for four years at Walt Whitman High School, graduating in 2011. Since then he has graduated from Wheaton College having majored in philosophy. He is currently pursuing a PhD in philosophy at Florida State University with the hope of teaching at a collegiate level. Marshall has been successful both as a debater and coach; in recent years he has coached debaters to win major national tournaments (such as the Bronx Invitational) and reach late out rounds at many others (including finals of the TOC). Marshall is an experienced camp instructor having both taught and developed curriculum at multiple camps for years. This will be his seventh summer at VBI.
LD Curriculum Director
SunHee Simon is a LD curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. SunHee has participated in debate since the 7th grade and has been a championship debater in both Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate. In 2015, she was one of only two people to qualify to the Tournament of Champions in CX and LD. Her freshman year at Stanford University--where she now attends--she earned the semifinal title at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national tournament. Now, she focus on private coaching and coaching Science Park High School. She has helped her students get to late elims and finals of national tournaments like the Glenbrooks, NDCA, Berkeley, Emory, and the TOC. This is SunHee's fourth year with VBI.
PF Curriculum Director
Devon is returning to VBI for his third year, as PF Curriculum Director. Devon recently graduated from NYU ('18), majoring in Politics with a double minor in History and Philosophy. At NYU he was a Global Debate Semifinalist and served as the VP of his school’s American Parliamentary Debate team. He debated for four years at Suncoast High School in Florida. During this time, he reached outrounds at a variety of state and national tournaments like Penn, Blue Key, The Sunvitational, Florida States and The Crestian Invitational. He has coached a number of teams for four years, both freelance and as the head PF coach for Byram Hills High School. At Byram Hills, he helped qualify three teams to the TOC for their first appearance in school history. Throughout the rest of his career, the teams he’s worked with have made it to late outrounds at tournaments like NSDA Nationals, CFL Nationals, Princeton, Lexington, The Sunvitational, Penn, Harvard and Ridge.
LD Curriculum Director
Lawrence Zhou is a LD curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. Lawrence competed at Bartlesville HS in Oklahoma (2010-2014) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. In high school, he was the 2014 NSDA LD National Champion. He was also a three-time finalist and two-time champion of the Oklahoma State Tournament and placed 6th at NFL Nationals his junior year. He now attends the University of Oklahoma where he is a Management of Information Systems major and Philosophy minor. He is an assistant coach at The Harker School, a member of the OU Ethics Bowl Team, and debates on the OU Shannon Self Debate Program policy team. This will be his sixth year at VBI.
Director of Student Life
Kara Dreher is Director of Student Life for Victory Briefs. She holds an AB in Politics from Princeton University, an MSc in Child Development from Oxford University, and an MA in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education. She is currently a member of the Upper School English Faculty at Ranney School in New Jersey, where she teaches 9th, 11th, and 12th grade, and serves as the Dean for the Class of 2020. Previously, she taught 8th grade Literature with Achievement First in New York, where she also served as a Course Lead and Curriculum Consultant for two years, crafting the network's 8th grade Literature curriculum and compiling resources for 6th-12th grade curricula. Prior to her role as Director of Student Life, Kara served as VBI's Instructional Development Director, and she continues to advise on pedagogy, curricular development, and teaching standards at VBI. This is will be her fifth summer with VBI.
Director of Operations
Nick Smith is Director of Operations at Victory Briefs. He studied Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He was the Director of Debate at Hopkins (MN) for four years and now coaches at St. Thomas Academy (MN) & The Visitation School (MN), in addition to privately coaching several students. His students have reached late elimination rounds at many major national tournaments, have received numerous round robin invitations, and have frequently qualified to the TOC, NSDA Nationals, NDCA Nationals, NCFLs, and the Minnesota State Tournament. This will be Nick's seventh summer at VBI.