Meet Your Speech Camp Instructors


Senior Camp Instructors:

Ellen Alcazar

Hmmmm….I’m not sure how I got here.

I think this all started with my son David—as so much in my life does. Yes, it’s David’s fault. He wanted to compete in Stoa and, since I said he could not debate, he picked speech. Interpretive speech. What on earth?! Since neither of us knew anything about interpretive speech, I sat in on every one of Mrs. Yvonne Gerdt’s weekly lessons so I could go home and parent-coach David. He needed to learn to cut a piece that made sense to an audience. Oh and, he needed to play both a hobbit and a dragon convincingly without the use of costumes. If that wasn’t enough, he needed to make me believe he was in a cozy hobbit hole during his introduction and then transition to a dark dragon’s lair. Convincingly. Without sets. Using nothing but his 12-year old self! Do you see why I went to ALL of Yvonne’s lessons? If I had anything to offer my son that year, it was because Yvonne Gerdt took the time to encourage me and allowed me, even in that first year, to step in and teach and train the kids. I owe her much.

When Yvonne stepped down I happily stepped up to teach and train our students. As with all art forms, I continue to learn and grow and count it a blessing to do so alongside the students God generously places in my care.

My undergraduate work was in the area of Sociology and Psychology with an emphasis in early childhood language acquisition. I have a Masters in Elementary Education and taught 7th and 8th grade Language Arts and Mathematics in both a gang environment and a specialized school serving the entire range of disabilities within fully integrated classrooms. What I enjoyed most was leading the new teacher mentor program, a program designed to help teachers understand the relational dynamics between teacher/student/parent. I taught conflict resolution and effective classroom management.

Most Important—I am wife to Carlos Alcazar who makes me laugh. Every. Single. Day.

Equally Important—I am mom to Joseph, David, Grace, and Jane who make me proud. Every. Single. Day.

Kendall Teel

Kendall (formerly Kendall Beaman) is a May 2019 graduate from John Brown University with a BS in Graphic Design and minor in Museum Studies with an emphasis in Art History. Kendall is a Stoa alumni, competing from seventh grade all the way to her senior year. Kendall competed primarily in the interpretive and platform categories. Throughout all the years of her Stoa career, Kendall qualified all but one of her speeches to NITOC. Competing at NITOC from eighth grade to senior year, Kendall consistently broke one or more of her speeches to at least a minimum of quarterfinals, often breaking to semifinals and also competing in finals twice. During her senior year, Kendall broke her Open, Humorous, and Duo Interpretations to finals; placing 6th in Open, 5th in Humorous, and 1st in Duo to become the 2016 NITOC Duo Champion along with her partner Evy Bills. Since her high school graduation, Kendall has been a freelance speech coach as well as the club speech coach for Rising Eagles in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Throughout her three years of coaching, Kendall has had several students qualify for NITOC and has had at least two or more students break into NITOC outrounds, including finals. Kendall has an absolute passion for speech and debate and loves to help both novice and advanced students continue to grow and hone in on their skills and craft. Getting students to believe in their own abilities, learn new skills that are applicable in real life, and build friendships is what drives Kendall as a speech coach. As a speech coach, perhaps her most notable phrase for interpers is, “When you feel like an idiot, you’re doing it right.”


Junior Camp Instructors:

Kim Martinez

Kim has been a Stoa speech and debate parent for five years. She has coached senior-level competitors in Mars Hill Impromptu (now starting her fourth year) and Broadcasting for one year. She has also coordinated junior speech instruction for three years. In addition, she teaches MS Speech and HS Speech & Communications at Dominion Equippers Co-Op. She enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, and traveling.

Gabriel Martinez

Gabriel is starting his sixth and final year competing in Stoa speech and debate. He has competed in all types of debate, as well as several speech events, and has qualified for NITOC in Team Policy, Lincoln Douglas and Parliamentary debate, Extemporaneous speaking and his favorite event, Mars Hill Impromptu. He enjoys playing with Transformers, cooking, watching Marvel movies and spending time with his cat, Mandi.

Conner Pace

Conner is competing in his third year of Stoa speech and debate. He has experience in interpretation events, platform speeches, and his favorite, Team Policy debate. Conner enjoys keeping his room clean, quoting movies, decorating cakes, and playing board games. When he is not busy, he delights in listening to music and drawing on his dry erase board. Also, Conner knows Sign Language in addition to English.