Team

Our Team

The Summit family is the whole reason for our success and why we have been a favorite choice since 1995. Whether you are coming for Extemp, Oratory, Informative, Interp, or Debate, we have a staff that is experienced in high school speech and debate. Our senior staff members typically have at least a decade of experience. We also use recent graduates to keep us fresh with new ideas and approaches. Below is the staff that will be working this summer. New additions are added all the time. We invite you to come back frequently and see who is being added!

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David Kraft
David KraftVice President Summit Debate, Co-Director of InterProd

David Kraft is a Senior Partner and Co-founder of Final Focus Group. He is also Vice President of Summit Debate Enterprises and founder of InterProd (2004), a national performance institute and theatrical production company and InterProd Theatre (2010). Mr. Kraft works as a communications consultant as well as a theatrical director. As a consultant, he has been asked to lecture at Stanford University and Emerson College. Mr. Kraft has also been an Adjunct Professor in Communications at Nova Southeastern University, Bradley University and The University of Texas at Austin. His areas of expertise include theatrical direction, interpretation, public speaking and image consulting.

As an educator, he is one of the most respected and successful speech and performance coaches in the nation. His record includes over 40 national finalists as well as 13 National Champions in every interpretive event, Original Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu. Mr. Kraft consults with speech and debate programs from around the country including California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa and Massachusetts. His students have been accepted into some of the best programs in the country as well as performed in many television programs and commercials as well as film.

Under Mr. Kraft’s direction, InterProd Theatre’s most recent production, “Dig and Be Dug: The Gospel of Lord Buckley” debuted at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity in New York City and earned Best Overall Solo Production as well as Best Actor in a Solo Show. Other directing credits include “Free! Adult! Uncensored!” which received its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and its US premiere in Boston, MA., and “Every Speck of Dust That Falls To Earth Really Does Make The Whole Planet Heavier” in Chicago, IL., for Warm Body Theatre. Mr. Kraft has also worked on the radio for NPR as the host of “Jazz Session” and is a published author and playwright who resides in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.


 


Jenny Cook
Jenny CookExecutive Director of Summit Debate / Oratory Instructor

Jenny Cook is a Senior Partner and Co-founder of Final Focus Group. Jenny is also the President of Summit Debate Enterprises, which she started in 1995. Summit Debate conducts national debate and speech institutes for high school students and provides resources and outreach for high school competitive debate and speech programs across the country.

In 2004, Jenny and her husband David Kraft, formed InterProd, and in 2010 created InterProd Theatre, which produced the 2010 New York City Planet Connections Theatre Festivities best Solo Show “Dig and Be Dug.” In addition, she was the Director of Arts at University School of Nova Southeastern University, a pre-K through 12 private school in Davie, Florida. She holds a Masters Degree in Management and Administration of Educational Programs. For over two decades, she has coached several national, regional and state champions in high school competitive debate and speech events.



Nick Fox
Nick FoxInterProd Senior Instructor

Nick Fox is the founder and director of CareeristTV — an online content delivery system for college career service offices — where he creates unique speeches and presentations to help students and recent grads get the job of their dreams. He crafts simple methodologies, that even the most hashtag-addled members of the Twitter generation can use to motivate themselves and succeed.

Prior to founding CareeristTV, Nick sold his soul for a living as an alternative investments analyst for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and served as an assistant speech coach at Holy Ghost Prep where he helped a number of students reach both NFL and CFL National final rounds, as well as innumerable final rounds at other state and national tournaments. Nick is a graduate of DeSales University, with a degree in Television and Film and currently lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania…a town no one has ever heard of.



Ryan Knowles
Ryan KnowlesInterProd Senior Instructor

As a competitor in both high school and college forensics, Ryan amassed an impressive record of consistent successes, including: Over 300 trophies and awards, 9 State Championships, 5 National Final Rounds, 2 National Championships, as well as becoming the first American in history to win a World Universities Debate Association World Championship.

As a coach, Ryan has taught at some of the most respected and successful high school programs in the nation, including University School (FL), Leland High School (CA), James Logan High School (CA), and Holy Ghost Preparatory (PA).  His students have been in numerous state and national final rounds, have won multiple state and national championships, and have been accepted at the nation’s top acting conservatories.

In addition to coaching, Mr. Knowles is an actor and singer based in New York City.  For the past year he has appeared in the award-winning, hit off-Broadway revue NEWSICAL: The Musical at Theatre Row on 42nd Street, alongside such stars as Perez Hilton, Andrea McArdle, Christine Pedi, Cheri Oteri and Carson Kressley.  Recently, Ryan portrayed “Squidward” in the workshop for the Broadway production of Spongebob Squarepants.  He has appeared in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, as well as other shows with the world-famous Rockettes.  He starred in over 400 performances as The Genie in “Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular,” the multi-million dollar production at the Disneyland Resort directed by Tony-nominee Francesca Zambello, for which he wrote his own comedy material.  On the off-Broadway stage, Ryan originated the role of Nick Bottom in the hit off-Broadway musical “Fools in Love,” performing for over a year to great critical acclaim.  He starred as Prospero in the new musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” In addition to performing in “The Tempest,” Ryan adapted the text of the Bard’s play for the book of the musical and worked with Tony award-winning legend Thomas Meehan (“The Producers,” “Hairspray,” “Annie.”), who developed the concept of the show.  On TV, he hosted Nickelodeon’s daily live 2-hour television show, Me:TV. His feature film debut as The Devil in Camp Hell had its theatrical release in 2011.



Kevin Allocca
Kevin AlloccaInterProd Senior Instructor

Kevin Allocca is the Trends Manager at YouTube (Google), where he oversees community programming and is the expert on popularity and cultural phenomenon. He’ss made numerous TV appearances (Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, CBS This Morning), is frequently cited in the NYT, LATimes, and many other publications, and has spoken at events around the world on subjects of web video, social media, entertainment, and breaking news.  His TED talk has been watched over 1 million times.

Previously, he was an editor at mediabistro.com and was a political satire writer and producer at The Huffington Post. He attended Boston College where he was the university humor columnist and was a performer/writer and the director of Hello…Shovelhead! Sketch Comedy.  He was a state champion in duo interpretation and has been coaching interp professionally for 11 years.  He lives and works where the action is in New York City.



 

Brittany Squier
Brittany SquierInterProd Senior Instructor

Brittany Squier graduated in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dramaturgy & Criticism from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She is a freelance dramaturg in Chicago and most recently worked with Dog and Pony Theatre Co. for the first time on Counterfeiters. Her previous credits include dramaturg on Cabaret,FaustusAfter the EndPinkaliciousCrave, and A Lie of the Mind. She has served as a research assistant, speech coach, script librarian, journalist, in various customer service positions, and is currently a server at Oiistar in Wicker Park. In her free time she tries to be as funny as possible in written form and curates and produces art shows and events. Contact her at brittany.squier@gmail.com.



 

Bob Ickes
Bob IckesInterProd Senior Instructor

Bob Ickes—a finalist at the National Forensic League (NFL), National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL), Emory University, and Harvard University tournaments—has been coaching high-school speech for the past 15 years and began working with the Interprod family in 2004. Having edited and or written for Newsweek, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Vogue, Details, The Hollywood Reporter, POZ, and Andy Warhol’s Interview, among other publications, he has coached or helped coach the writing of original orations that have won Harvard and reached the elimination and final rounds of The Glenbrooks, Emory, Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford tournaments, as well as the final rounds of the National Forensic League and National Catholic Forensic League championships. Bob has also edited eight books, including, most recently, “The Architecture of the Novel,” by Anne Lamott and Jane Vandenburgh; The New York Times Notable Book “Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography,” by Burton Hersh; and “The Price of Justice: A True Story of Two Men and Their Epic Battle Against Corruption and Greed in Coal Country,” by Laurence Leamer, out this spring from New York Times Books.




 

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Amy Sukserm

Oratory 

Amy Sukserm is a fresh graduate from Trinity Prep where she served as the team’s Oratory and Interp Captain. During her four years on the circuit, she has competed in Oratory, OI, POI, and Duo. She has reached elimination rounds at Harvard, Yale, GMU, Berkeley, Sunvite, Emory, the Tournament of Champions, NCFL Nationals, and the NSDA National Tournament. She has also reached final rounds at Blue Key, Bronx, and the FFL Varsity State Tournament, and is a three-time NSDA qualifier. Speech has given her the opportunity to find her voice, a platform to share ideas with an open-minded community, and a chance to passionately advocate for what she believes in. She emphasizes the importance of speakers carrying themselves with grace, humility, and sincerity. Her ultimate goal is to help others discover their voices and passions while truly enjoying what they do. She will be attending the University of Florida in the fall on the pre-med track and can’t wait to work with you all this summer!


 

Ryan Lebar
Ryan LebarInterProd Instructor

Ryan is currently pursuing a B.F.A in directing at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the School of Filmmaking. While competing at Pine View School, Ryan reached the semi-finals at Harvard, the final rounds at Blue Key, Sunvitational and the Florida State Championship, as well as elimination rounds at NCFL.

His film directing credits include, Jane CallingWingmenThe Goodmann’sA Rivulet in TimeWe Killed the PossumThe Godfather’s Day OffThe Dough Bros Mini SeriesDancer, Death at a TheaterScraps, and most recently, Interluding. He has also appeared on stage in numerous professional productions including, Second Time Around, Send Me No Flowers, and Caught in the Net.

This will be his third year coaching at Interprod and he is excited as ever to help inspire students to experience performance in a new way.



Joele Denis
Joele DenisInterProd Instructor

Joele Denis is currently the director of Individual Events at Stuyvesant High School. In high school, he was a semifinalist at both the CFL and NFL national tournaments. In college, Joele competed in ten different events, advancing to national final rounds seven times in the events of Drama, Poetry, and Duo, and advancing to semi-finals in Rhetorical Criticism, After Dinner Speaking, Prose Interpreation, and Duo. After becoming a collegiate national champion, Joele helped coach the 2010 collegiate National Champions in Drama (NFA, Jerome Davis), and Poetry (AFA, Ganer Newman). Additionally, he has been a coach at several summer speech camps and high schools with students achieving state titles, and advancing to national final rounds.



Doug Herring
Doug HerringInterProd Instructor

Doug Herring is a fresh graduate from Trinity Preparatory School in Florida, where he competed for four years. A former InterProd student, Doug has competed in Duo, HI, and DI. He has reached the final round at Emory and Sunvitational, quarterfinals at Harvard, and is the 2012 Duo Champion at Yale, Glenbrooks, and two-time champion at the New York Invitational; as well as the 2012 HI Champion at Blue Key. Most recently, Doug placed second at the NCFL National Tournament in Duo. He will be attending New York University in the fall, and is excited to spend his summer working with the same coaches that helped him achieve his successes.



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