Our Team

National Debate Champions. White House Awardees. Two Gates Millennium Scholars. College Professors. High School Teachers. Middle School Teachers. Elementary School Teachers. A collective count of countless national, state and local debate titles.  Founder of New York's high school and middle school scholastic debate league. Our team includes some of the top debate educators, debaters and nonprofit leaders in the city and country.  


Erika Marte, Founding Board Member,

Educator, Doctoral Candidate New York University

Erika Marte is a champion middle school, high school, and college debater and first Latina to win top speaker at the New York State High School Debate Championships. Erika was recognized as a Gates Millennium Scholar which provided a full scholarship for both undergraduate and graduate school. Erika is currently working on her doctorate degree in education at New York University and serving as an adjunct Professor. She is founding board member of the NYC Elementary School Speech and Debate League. 

Articles about Erika


"Hard Work Pays Off for Bronx High School Student"



"I Am Afraid of Being a Woman"



Erika Marte Awarded Watson Fellowship


Starr Arroyo, Founding Board Member

Legal Education

Star is an award winning middle school and high school debater. She and her partner reached the Semifinals of the National Debate Championships Tournament. Star was recognized by the White House for her achievements in debate and education and was invited to the White House to receive a special award and deliver a speech in front of First Lady Michelle Obama. Star has taught and directed numerous debate programs and summer debate institutes. Star is planning to attend law school. Star is a founding board member. 

"Skilled Young Orators Heading to the White House"


Sorangel Liriano, Founding Board Member

Earth Justice Columbia University

Sorangel Liriano is an award winning middle school and high school debater. She graduated from Columbia University on multiple scholarships including the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Coca Cola Scholarship, New York Times Scholarship, Ronald McDonald Scholarship, and a Dell Scholarship. Sorangel has started debate programs at the middle school and high school grade levels, manages debate tournaments every month and is one of the most passionate supporters for debate in NYC. Sorangel serves as Founding Board Member. 

Articles about Sorangel:


"Students Who Overcame the Odds"



"Build On: Sorangel Liriano"



"Debate Clubs Expand in the Bronx"

Clubes de debate se expanden en El Bronx

Yaira Brito, Founding Board Member

Legal Education

Yaira was an award winning debater in middle shool and high school. She is currently working at a law firm and is planning to attend Law School and become a Lawyer. Yaira and her partner Star were among the top debate teams in the city at both the middle school and high school grade levels.  Yaira reached the National Debate Championships not once but twice and placed in the Semifinals. After graduation she continues to support speech and debate throughout the state on various projects, tournaments and summer debate institutes. Yaira is a founding board member. 


Articles about Yaira:

"Skilled Young Orators Heading to the White House"


Erik Fogel, Adjunct Professor Baruch College, Director

Erik has been a public school teacher for ten years with the New York City Department of Education and currently serves as Adjunct Professor at Baruch College in the Communications Studies Department. He received his B.A. from U.C Berkeley, J.D. from Hastings College of Law, and M.S. in Education at Pace University. In his third year of law school he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and spent the year in chemotherapy and radiation. Upon graduation, he decided to pursue a career in education rather than law. In 2002 he was accepted to Teach for America and has been teaching since. He started the South Bronx’s first nationally competitive debate team and built one of the largest and most successful Title I debate teams in New York with over 100 students. His students went on to win Semifinalists at the Middle School National Championships, #1 ranked high school team in the nation, and #1 ranked debater at the national college championships.   In 2011, Erik founded the New York City Urban Debate League with the mission that every middle school and high school should have a debate team. Erik served as Executive Director from 2011-2020 building the league into the largest urban debate league in the nation, serving thousands of students every year.  In 2020, Erik moved on to start the city’s first elementary school speech and debate league. Erik is the recipient of numerous awards in education including: We are the Bronx Fellowship Award, Presidential Youth Award in the Arts and Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Institute of Museum and Library Studies and the White House Commission on the Arts and Humanities, United States Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers Fellowship, Fund for Teachers Fellowship, Plank Foundation Fellowship, Points of Light Civic Incubator Award, Robin Hood's GRIT, and Teach for America Innovation Award Finalist.


Skilled Young Orators Heading to the White House


From Baking Cupcakes to Making History

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New York City Teacher Creates After School Debate League Lauded by the White House

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Urban Debate Reborn



Energy, Pizza, and Evidence: Youth Debate in New York


Pamela Fogel

Elementary School Teacher

Pamela Wood has been a lifelong Elementary School Teacher of over 40 years. She is currently retired and helping the Elementary School Speech and Debate League with curriculum and lesson plan development. 

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