Carlos M. Astacio

Executive Director


Carlos Astacio is a Newark Debate Academy alumnus that debated from 7th grade all the way through college and continued to serve the organization through various coaching positions after graduating from Rutgers-Newark with bachelor degrees in Public Administration and Philosophy. In his new role as the Assistant Director of NDA, he serves as the day to day administrator for the organization. Some of his responsibilities include: managing financial operations, supervising part time staff, implementing NDA programming, and serving as the liaison between the organization and Newark Public Schools Central Administration.

Whitney Farrand

High School Coordinator


Whitney graduted from George Washing University with a bachelors in psychology. She is current the high school debate coordinator at NDA, her job is to coordinate all of the paperwork for every high school trip that Newark speech and debate students participate in. She has been an eighth grade math teacher at Mt. Vernon Elementary School in Newark since 2007. She also coaches the Mt. Vernon elementary school debate team, which is consistently in the top debate schools in the city.

Willie Johnson

Elementary-Middle School Coordinator


Willie debated in high school for the New York Urban Debate League, afterward he attended Lehman College where he continued to debate. At Lehman he received his bachelors in sociology. Currently Willie is the elementary school coordinator for NDA, his job is to run and organize all our of elementary grade tournaments throughout the school year. Willie also works as an assistant debate coach for Rutgers University-Newark.

Ivelisse Tirado

Field Coordinator


Coordinates, monitors, and improves fields services and daily activities for the Newark Debate Academy. Provides support and guidance to staff, coaches, and students who perform on-site routine services including coaching, tournaments, registration, and debating.

Stanley Baxter

Executive Producer/Public Debate Coordinator


Writes and executes the creative content for The Newark Debate Academy, including but not limited to “The Newark Debater” show, public debate productions, and photographs.

Devane Murphy

Assistant Coach – University High School


Devane is a former debater for Rutgers-Newark and Science Park High School. He has been a First Round Qualifier to the National Debate Tournament, was in the Top 20 speakers of many national tournaments including the Jesuit at Gonzaga, the Texas Open, CEDA Nationals, and the National Debate Tournament. In 2017, Devane and his partner “United the Crowns” by winning both the CEDA national championship and the National Debate Tournament with Devane receiving the coveted Ross K. Smith top speaker award. Devane coaches on the high school level with the Newark Debate Academy at University High School in both policy and Lincoln Douglas debate.