Echelon Debate

4032 Blackburn Lane 

Burtonsville, MD 20866

301-570-0999

info@echelondebate.org

© 2019 Echelon Debate

ABOUT ECHELON DEBATE

Mission Statement: We believe that everyone can become a powerful speaker. Our mission is to create an enhanced learning environment with individualized instruction and experiential learning at its forefront. Whether working in the classroom with an instructor or discussing current events outside with your hall mates, students are always engaged and having fun. This combination inspires our students to unlock their full potential as globally effective communicators.

Critical Reasoning

Critical reasoning is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for living a successful life and debate is the perfect activity for exercising this ability. At Echelon Debate, we break down the fundamentals of an argument and its logic. We hold our students accountable for evaluating the reliability of their sources, teaching them to create an informed opinion regardless of the perspective they choose to take.  Echelon Debate provides students with a clear structure in which to process through arguments and personal thoughts. Critical reasoning is not only essential to communicate effectively with peers and fellow citizens, but it encourages students to investigate and understand all sides of an issue thoroughly. Students engage with multiple perspectives and determine the best possible outcome. As youth continue to grow up, the ability to make well thought out decisions will prove advantageous in all aspects of their lives, especially during this critical time of transition. 

Professional Development

In the United States, the most desired trait among all employers is effective communication in addition to reading and writing skills. Today’s workforce is in need of effective communicators. By evaluating research, drafting persuasive speeches, and presenting their case to an opposing team, students will practice the skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Debate creates a platform for students to express themselves strategically, clearly, and effectively in a professional setting. Students will receive feedback from their instructors about their delivery and instructors will offer techniques for success. Impromptu speech exercises will also help students perfect their responses to prompts similar to those presented in an interview. Public speaking and debate are essential for developing and achieving an individual's personal and professional goals.

Pathway to College

Echelon Debate prepares students to participate in competitive debate tournaments outside of this program. We focus on Big Question Debates, a commonly used format in the National Speech and Debate Association. However, the basic writing and research skills that students will learn from our summer program are complementary to any academic competition such as: Model UN, mock trial, and being a member the National Speech and Debate Association. These activities place students on a path towards college admissions and internships on Capitol Hill. This extracurricular leads to the potential for scholarships and fosters the skills that one needs to be a fierce competitor on a college league team. We prepare students for the academic rigor of any research writing and policy driven area of study. Those students who participate in speech and debate become well known influencers in society. We challenge students to set goals and achieve them. Actors, lawyers, senators are all among those who have utilized debate to establish their influence on both history and modern day society. Examples of famous debaters include: Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, William H. Macy, Adam Sandler, Margaret Thatcher, Justice Samuel Alito, Chadwick Boseman, William J. Crowe, and Stephen Colbert.  

Become a Global Citizen

Speech and debate is beneficial for creating globally informed citizens in two unique ways.

 

  • First, speech and debate helps one become a global citizen by encouraging students to discuss domestic, economic and political issues alongside foreign affairs in a healthy, competitive environment. Students will research the pros and cons of this year’s topic resolution to determine the impact of a significant values based issue on a global scale.

 

  • Second, debate is an excellent activity for students seeking to improve foreign language skills. Echelon Debate is particularly beneficial for international students seeking to improve their written and spoken English language skills as our students are fortunate to learn in Washington D.C., the nation's capital. We focus on individualized instruction to ensure that students learn English at their own pace and achieve their personal, academic, and language goals. 

Debate for International Students 

Echelon Debate proudly accepts international students who seek to improve their English language communication skills. We provide international students with a supportive and challenging environment that is responsive to all learning styles.  Our public speaking and debate programs are designed to cultivate a student’s social and academic life. We present your student with the fundamentals of effective research, writing, and speaking skills, which then gives them the opportunity to put these skills into practice. We enable our students to develop the core skills that boost confidence, which is essential to feeling comfortable integrating a foreign language in their daily lives.

Debate incorporates the 3 essential steps to learning a foreign language

Build a foundation of vocabulary

Activate writing and speaking skills

Explore your passions in new languages 

OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Our goal is to give students the opportunity to find their voice through public speaking and debate. To achieve this, we gather staff with a diverse set of expertise located in the nation's capital. All of our staff have degrees from accredited universities and experience in speech and debate.  Our staff leads learners on a journey of self-discovery: developing, enhancing, and applying impeccable communication skills. Echelon instructors embrace the disciplines of debate, public speaking, and critical reasoning.

Kelly Mazzeo
Executive Director

Kelly Mazzeo has been dedicated to education for thirty years. Throughout her career she has taught in the DC Metropolitan Area including Maryland and Virginia, from preschool to high school. She has been a department chairperson, staff development instructor, and parent educator. Ms. Mazzeo works privately as a staff development consultant to schools and has been an advocate for students for many years.

For more than twenty years, she has provided community-based workshops to families. In 1988 she was selected as an Outstanding Woman of America and in 2016, she was the recipient of the International ATHENA Award for her extraordinary dedication of self and generosity, professional excellence, community service, and the mentoring of youth.

Currently, Ms. Mazzeo is the Director and Founder of Echelon Academy, a prestigious and exclusive K-12 academy in Maryland. She is a professor in both the Department of Education and the Department of English and Reading at Montgomery College. She teaches about public speaking, argumentative writing, English language, arts integration, reading, and educational foundations. Ms. Mazzeo is a frequent speaker at regional and national conventions oriented towards parenting, education and creative classroom approaches. In addition to serving as a member on several local boards of directors, she has been a presenter for The Maryland Council for Exceptional Children Literacy for Success Convention, Early Childhood Education and Career Fair at Montgomery College, Maryland Council for Exceptional Children Convention and MANSEF to list a few.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary/secondary education from Radford University, and a Master of Arts in education from The George Washington University.

David Scott
Assistant Director

David Scott has been involved with international education since high school. He created a successful after-school program and summer academic program before attending university and exemplifies all the essential skills to create a powerful global impact. Starting out as a counselor for Chevy Chase Club Summer camp near Washington DC, he worked his way up to become camp director for several more years. As a leader, he possesses excellent written and oral communication skills along with exceptional teamwork and interpersonal abilities.

Mr. Scott has experienced international education through two different perspectives: the host family and the student being hosted. He has hosted several different international students from various countries all across the world including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, China and Brazil. On the other hand, during his time at James Madison University, he studied international business and Spanish language at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain in 2015. He received the Excellence in Spanish Scholarship and Best Public Speaker in a Foreign Language Award in 2016. Currently during the school year, Mr. Scott is the Director of International and External Programs at Echelon Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language with a concentration in Spanish and Italian, complemented by a minor in Business Spanish from James Madison University.

David Scott has been involved with international education since high school. He created a successful after-school program and summer academic program before attending university and exemplifies all the essential skills to create a powerful global impact. Starting out as a counselor for Chevy Chase Club Summer camp near Washington DC, he worked his way up to become camp director for several more years. As a leader, he possesses excellent written and oral communication skills along with exceptional teamwork and interpersonal abilities.

Mr. Scott has experienced international education through two different perspectives: the host family and the student being hosted. He has hosted several different international students from various countries all across the world including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, China and Brazil. On the other hand, during his time at James Madison University, he studied international business and Spanish language at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain in 2015. He received the Excellence in Spanish Scholarship and Best Public Speaker in a Foreign Language Award in 2016. Currently during the school year, Mr. Scott is the Director of International and External Programs at Echelon Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language with a concentration in Spanish and Italian, complemented by a minor in Business Spanish from James Madison University.

Olivia Adams
Director

Olivia Adams has been passionate about speech and debate since the 8th grade. As an educator, public speaking coach, and communication scholar, she has multiple areas of debate expertise. Ms. Adams began her public speaking journey in 8th grade when she joined her first competitive public speaking team. She was team captain for 2 years. Since then, she competed in every possible national tournament, advancing to the top 24 in the nation before the age of 17. Forensics drove her to continue her studies in higher education receiving a degree in communications while simultaneously competing on her university speech team. Ms. Adams was also captain of her university’s team as well as team assistant. She has qualified for every national tournament during her college career, advancing to national quarter and semi-final rounds. Ms. Adams was the recipient of the 1st Place Overall Speaker Award 2 consecutive years at the Virginia is For Lovers Tournament in 2017 and 2018. She was the Recipient of 2nd Place Overall Speaker Award at the Hill Country Swing Texas State University. In addition, she was the Recipient of 1st Place Speaker Award in the event of After Dinner Speaking at the Virginia State Forensics Tournament in 2015, making her a state champion. In 2015, she was Selected as a finalist for James Madison University’s Fall Public Advocacy Contest. She qualified for AFA-NIET Qualifier each year in the events of Prose, Dramatic, Poetry, POI and Duo Interpretation and Persuasive, Informative, and After Dinner Speaking. All this experience allows Ms. Adams to give our students an insider’s view of this incredible activity. Ms. Adams coached public speaking for three years at the university’s communication center where she perused research in treating  public speaking anxiety among young adults with virtual reality therapy. Her research was presented at the national communication centers conference in 2018 and continues to influence her teaching pedagogy. As a teacher at Echelon Academy, Ms. Adams integrates critical reasoning and public speaking into her teaching style. Using an individualized approach to learning, Ms. Adams adapts her curriculum to best suit the learning styles of each student. Ms. Adams has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies with a minor in writing, rhetoric, and technical communication from James Madison University.

Robert Harris
Director of Finance

Robert showed his entrepreneurial bent at an early age, starting with his first lemonade stand. He has owned several businesses over the years. His crowning achievement was being the CEO of KH Funding Company, a public investment and mortgage banking company. He currently is the owner of Citadel Financial Corp, and provides accounting and tax services to several clients. He is a member of the Maryland Society of Accountants and Tax Preparers. He is licensed with both the IRS and Maryland to prepare taxes and he is a Quickbooks (Intuit) Pro Level Adviser. He attended Harker Preparatory School in Potomac, MD, and is an alumnus of The Citadel Military College, Charleston, SC.