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Speech and Debate

Education by Shelby Young


rom more than 5,000 coaches in the National Speech & Debate Association, one veteran coach from Colorado stood out with grace, passion, charisma, and an unwavering commitment to speech and debate. Renee C. Motter from Air Academy High School in Colorado was selected as the inaugural National Educator of the Year. Renee was, in her words, “shocked, humbled, shocked, astounded, and shocked” when Executive Director J. Scott Wunn suddenly appeared on stage to present the award during the Colorado Grande district tournament on March 3 in conjunction with National Speech and Debate Education Day. However, the greater speech and debate community was not surprised. Renee has been a leading educator, coach, and mentor to countless members of the speech and debate community over the years. The impact she has made on fellow teachers, coaches, and students is astounding. “Her integrity is beyond reproach,” says NSDA Board President Don Crabtree. “Her leadership is evident by her role as a district chair, and she is highly respected by all of her peers.” “Renee Motter is the complete package,” says fellow coach Pauline Carochi. “[She] is the change we want to see in this world.” Renee has created a lot of positive change in the speech and debate community over the past two decades. She first participated in the activity



Renee Motter, recipient of the inaugural National Educator of the Year Award

in high school, continued to compete in college, and became a speech and debate coach and teacher shortly thereafter. She has spent the last 21 years teaching inside and outside the classroom. “As a coach, I’ve seen the impact the activity can have,” Renee says. “I’ve seen students transform. I’ve listened between rounds or on the bus as students have intelligently and respectfully discussed issues and candidates and society. I’ve seen interpers become as informed as debaters on many of the resolutions and the news, and I’ve seen debaters passionately defend society’s need for art and artists.” This is what motivates Renee— providing the skills to help young people think critically and articulate clearly. To her, speech and debate is about the future. It’s about her future, the future of her students, and the future of our society. Starting out, her goal as a teacher was to make a difference. Through speech and debate, she has found her way. She not only makes a difference in the lives of students, but she teaches them how to make a difference, as well. “Every day, I get to help students see their potential, and I help them gain effective communication skills they need to impact the world around them,” she says. “Speech and debate does that.” Renee’s mission to make a difference goes far beyond her students in the

Hear Renee speak at the National Education Conference in August! In addition to giving a keynote address, Renee Motter will co-present with Pam McComas.

Argumentation and Rhetoric: A Gateway to a Limitless World Renee Motter, Air Academy HS, CO Pam McComas, NSDA Board Member, KS Literacy is the key to expanding our students’ world. Argumentation and rhetoric are fundamental components in advancing this goal to prepare students to become responsible global citizens. One challenge facing educators is how to get students to demonstrate competency and still be creative in this rhetorical process. In an interactive format, Pam and Renee will utilize a variety of techniques, best practices, and resources to illustrate the use of rhetorical devices in argumentative discourse and testing the validity of evidence in support of these arguments.

classroom and her team. Along with being a coach and teacher, Renee is co-chair of the NSDA’s Curriculum Committee and a frequent presenter at the NSDA Summer Leadership Conference, the National Council of Teachers of English Conference, and the AP Annual Conference. She also plays

Profile for Speech & Debate

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4

2017 Spring Rostrum  

Volume 91 Issue 4