Phyl Demetriou

Co-Founder, Director



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Kiko Demetriou

Co-Founder, Head of Curriculum



Richmond Debate Institute began in 2017 as a company with the mission to foster debate education in Richmond. Phyl has worked with Chesterfield County School District for 3 years, a yearly speaker at the Virginia Association of Forensics, Theater, and Debate Coaches (VAFTDC), and also works as a consultant with the Richmond Forum on their Richmond Region Speech and Debate Initiative. 

Kiko is a fourth year Philosophy student at the University of Virginia, with law school aspirations. Currently, Kiko is the assistant debate coach of Clover Hill High School, and leverages his expertise in critical thought and debate to lead our coaches and develop our curriculum. In his high school tenure, Kiko was ranked 32nd in the nation in 2015, a Nevada State Champion in Public Forum in 2016, and a competitor at Tournament of Champions in 2016. 

Our Instructors


Dr. Anand Rao
University of Mary Washington
Zach Perry
University of Richmond ​

Dr. Anand Rao is  a professor of communication at the University of Mary Washington, where he has served as Director of the Speaking Center and the Director of the Speaking Intensive Program. He is also the Co-Founder of Millennial Debate, and has more than twenty-five years of experience with speech and debate at the high school and college level, and served as a consultant on a documentary about the National Debate Tournament. We are excited to have Dr. Rao teach at Richmond Debate!

Zach Perry is the assistant debate and forensics coach at the University of Richmond, where he also obtained a B.A. in Philosophy. He is also a member of the Virginia Association of Forensics, Theatre and Debate Coaches (VAFTDC) and assists with various high schools in the RVA and NOVA area. Previous experiences have included: competing internationally, hosting the traveling Committee for International Discussion and Debate (CIDD) team, and debates with the German, "Konstanz Debattierclub". With over 10 years of experience in over a dozen speech events, six forms of debate, Model UN, Future Problem Solvers, theatre, and improv, Zach utilizes these skills to foster a holistic methodology when exploring the art of rhetoric and communication.

Jordy Barry
Head Speech & Debate Coach
​Millburn High School
Maya Jenkins
University of Mary Washington

Jordy Barry has years of coaching experience at the national level, particularly with Congress Debate. She regularly consults NSDA for Congress matters, has judged NSDA and TOC finals in Congress debate, and has also personally coached the Congress debate champion in 2018. Jordy currently serves as one of the head Speech & Debate coaches for Millburn High School (NJ), and also works as a political consultant. We are very excited to have Jordy lead our Congress debate. 

Maya is a rising sophomore at Mary Washington University, majoring in Political Science and Philosophy: Pre-law and minoring in Social Justice. She attended Cosby High School, where she led her school in Lincoln Douglas debate. At her time in Cosby, she was a regular State champion qualifier, and attended many summer camps. We are excited to have Maya mentor and students. 

Our Varsity Assistants 


Jack Merkel
Cosby High School
Shenan Worrel
Clover Hill High School​

Jack is a rising senior at Cosby High School, and has been the team's Public Forum captain for the last year. Jack qualified to the state tournament in his first year and has broken at many national tournaments. Most notably Jack went 5-1 at the UPenn tournament placing 17th out of 160 teams at the tournament. Jack attended the National Debate Forum camp his Sophomore year and attended Public Forum Academy in June where he was taught by national champions. We look forward to Jack helping mentor our debaters. 

Shenan is a rising senior at Clover Hill High School. She is a public forum debater and has been undefeated the past two years at regionals, has reached outrounds at numerous national tournaments, and recently placed among the top 64 teams in the country at NSDA. She is also the co-captain of Clover Hill debate, and recently helped lead the team to their first regional championship. She is very excited to be working with our PF debaters. 

Tiana Richardson
Clover Hill High School
Maggie Mooney
Deep Run High School​

Tiana Richardson is a rising senior at Clover Hill HS, and has consistently competed in public forum throughout high school. She has been the co caption of the Clover Hill team since sophomore year. Tiana is undefeated at regionals for the last two years, and competed in the out-rounds at various national circuit tournaments. Most recently she broke at NSDA nationals finishing her junior career, ranking among the top 64 teams in the country. She is honored to be here and contribute to our summer learning experience!

Maggie Mooney is a rising senior at Deep Run High School. In her debate career she has earned three state tournament qualifications, two national qualifications, and one state tournament championship win as well as one undefeated season. Her debate history includes experience with Parliamentary, Public Forum, and Lincoln Douglas Debate. We are excited to have Maggie work with our students!

Questions? Email us!

Feel free to email us your questions at rvadebate@gmail.com.


We will reply to you within a few days. 

Richmond Debate Institute 


Background photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons