Jake Nebel

Executive Director

Jake Nebel is Executive Director of Victory Briefs, a PhD candidate in Philosophy at New York University, and (starting Fall 2019) Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. 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 thirteenth summer at VBI.


Chris Theis

Executive Director

Chris Theis is Executive Director of Victory Briefs. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley High School (MN). He has previously coached students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA), Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Winston Churchill (TX). He currently sits on the National Debate Coaches Association’s Executive Committee, the National Speech Association Lincoln-Douglas Topic Wording Committee, and the Tournament of Champions (TOC) Lincoln-Douglas Committee.

As a coach, his students have consistently reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions, 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 three juniors to ever win the Tournament of Champions and is the only person to win the tournament 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.

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Jami Tanner

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 this fall. 

Marshall Thompson

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.


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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.

Devon Weis

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.

Lawrence Zhou

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.


Kara Dreher

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 Growth

Nick Smith is Director of Growth 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, at St. Thomas Academy (MN) & The Visitation School (MN), in addition to privately coaching several students. He now coaches Apple Valley High School. 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 eighth summer at VBI.


Director of Human Resources

Anthony Berryhill is Director of Human Resources for Victory Briefs. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, is an alumnus of Yale’s Ph.D. Program in Political Theory and holds an M.B.A. Anthony is currently a Learning and Development Manager for GLG, a learning platform which helps the world’s largest financial institutions with their research needs. At GLG Anthony helps lead the company’s onboarding, diversity/inclusion and operational training programs. As a coach Anthony has coached TOC champions (most recently in International Public Forum in 2017) and late elim round participants at NCFL and NSDA. As a competitor he qualified to national championships in LD, Extemp and Senate Legislative Debate his senior year. As an instructor Anthony specializes in critical theory, argument analysis, refutation and building debaters' confidence. This will be Anthony’s fourth summer with VBI.



Director of Instructor Development

Nathan Johnston is returning to VBI for his second year, as Instructor Development Director. Nathan is the Director of Forensics at Trinity Preparatory School where he also teaches World History and AP Human Geography. He is the former Director of Speech and Debate at Trinity Valley School and Tournament Director and Coach for the University of Tennessee. He is the Chair of the Florida Panther NSDA District and the Secretary of the North Florida Catholic Forensics League. Nathan has coached students to elimination rounds of the TOC, NSDA Nationals, Florida and Texas State Championships, and various national tournaments in Lincoln-Douglas, Policy, Public Forum, Congress, and individual events. As a competitor in high school, he was a congress state champion and received second place in Lincoln-Douglas at the Tennessee state championship along with earning bids in congressional debate to the TOC. As a collegiate debater for the University of Tennessee, he won two NPDA Tennessee state championships and finished second in the nation twice at IPDA nationals. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Tennessee, and an M.A. in History from the University of Texas.

Devane Murphy

Director of Faculty Engagement

Devane Murphy is a former debater for Rutgers-Newark and Newark Science. With Rutgers Newark, Devane won the 2017 CEDA National Championship and the 2017 NDT. He also was the top Speaker of the 2017 NDT. Devane has coached on the college and high school level and has coached multiple qualifiers to the TOC, CEDA nationals, the NDT and debaters to late elimination rounds at national tournaments throughout the season. Devane has taught at both LD and policy labs including 2017 VBI LA 1/2 top lab and 2017 NDA Frost Valley top lab.