WIDL Team

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Samuel Martineau has been teaching speech and debate in the homeschool community for fourteen years. He is the founder and director of the Wasatch Independent Debate League, which has been introducing homeschooled students to academic debate for the past thirteen years. He has also seen significant success as a mock trial coach including coaching three top ten teams at the National Mock Trial Tournament.

 

Samuel Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Weber State University with a B.S. and teaching certificate in Communication Teaching and a minor in History Teaching. 

 

Samuel is a 2021 U.S. Distinguished Teacher as well as a recipient of the KSL Teacher Feature Teacher of the Week award.

 

Sam Martineau

Founder, General Director, Teacher
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Jantzen Russell

Director of Marketing, Teacher

Jantzen Russell has years of teaching experience in charter schools, summer camps, and church assignments. In total, he's mentored and taught over a thousand kids. Jantzen is also the owner of the marketing company Revox Marketing.

As a WIDL alumnus, he's passionate about good communication and epic speeches. As a student, his favorite event was Oratory in which he was a regular top five finisher. Jantzen was also a key team member of the first homeschool mock trial team to make it to the state championship in Utah.

Jantzen is a father of two and married to the most beautiful woman in the world. He enjoys running, reading, and making dad jokes.

Rachelle Scott

Teacher

Rachelle Scott is a season-ticket-holding Sun Devil grad. She met her husband at an Arizona State University basketball game and they now have six little devils!

 

She is a business owner, director of a law firm, and a homeschooling mama.  She values learning and has broadened her education by becoming a cosmetologist, a triathlete, and even a ham radio operator.  She enjoys continuing to learn by attending BYU Education Week annually, traveling with her family, and trying to figure out how to get things to grow in Arizona. 

 

She loves teaching and has spent years directing youth camps and women’s retreats, coaching sports, mentoring speech competitions, and serving in her local communities and church. She’s thrilled to be taking on the challenge of expanding the debate program in Arizona!

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NaLyn Nelson

Teacher

NaLyn Nelson is new to the Wasatch Independent Debate League and excited for this new adventure!  She homeschooled her four children, now ages 19-25.  she loves teaching and has taught various youth classes for 10 years. 

She loves learning, reading, football, gardening, being a grandma, and spending time with her family.

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Jamie Whittier

Teacher

A Utah State graduate with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Jamie Whittier has worked with many businesses in her career managing public relations campaigns, writing marketing, email and social media campaigns, and organizing events and conventions. 

 

But her favorite career is her job as a stay-at-home homeschool mom of four, wife to Shane, and lifelong learner. 

 

Aside from teaching speech and debate classes, she co-directs Heber Valley Children’s Choir and loves gardening, reading, chocolate, and Garth Brooks concerts. 

Megan Lee

Teacher

Megan Lee has degrees in Communication and Law and Constitutional Studies and was a director over a learning center where she helped train teachers and tutor youth for several years.

Debating, was by far, one of the best things that she pursued during her education. Her main events were Lincoln Douglas, Impromptu and Mock Trial, where she placed in the top five at almost every tournament she competed. She is passionate about what debate can do for students' confidence, critical thinking, listening and ability to communicate strong opinions in non-contentious ways. 

Megan is a homeschool mama of four wonderful littles, a board member for ANWA, a closet fiction writer and a major foodie. She and her family love camping, trail running and experimenting to find the perfect cookie recipe.

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McKay Earl

Teacher

McKay Earl is a God-loving, family-loving, homeschool dad of 7 and enjoys every minute of the fun ride.  A product of homeschool himself he gained a strong foundation that led to a love for a classically-based, leadership-focused education.

 

An entrepreneur at heart, he has started multiple businesses and works now as a marketing consultant where he has helped hundreds of small business owners grow their companies.

 

McKay also loves cycling, camping and the great outdoors - and especially when he can do all three at the same time! He and his beautiful bride of 21 years live in Gilbert Arizona.

Emma Engstrom

Teacher

Emma Engstrom is a college student majoring in business at BYU. She participated in WIDL for five years and is a big fan. She also competed in mock trial, with her team eventually placing top ten nationwide. She’s loved every teaching opportunity that has come her way, including teaching a government class and co-coaching mock trial. Emma is passionate about the mission of WIDL. She knows from personal experience just how fun and rewarding it can be. Debate is the best college prep she knows of and she utilizes skills learned in debate every day. 

Emma enjoys swing dancing, cooking, practicing her mission language (Thai), fixing her car, all things outdoors, and spending time with her six younger sisters.

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Amy Jones

Teacher

Amy Jones has been teaching children and teens for more than a decade. From running a preschool to teaching high school speech and economics courses to fulfilling numerous church assignments she loves teaching youth and helping them achieve their potential.


Amy has a B.S. in Behavioral Science and Health and is always trying to learn more about how people work. She is a homeschool mom of six and thrives in the constructive chaos.

 
Amy and her awesome husband of 18 years have enjoyed criss-crossing the United States, living in Washington state for 10 years and South Carolina for 5. They recently moved to South Weber and are excited to experience all Utah has to offer. Amy loves being outside, organizing, reading, baking, ‘adventuring’ and eating great food. 

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Joseph Holt

Teacher

Joseph is a student of Philosophy at Brigham Young University, currently preparing for law school. Before that, he was a homeschooler who competed in Speech and Debate with the WIDL for eight years. He loved participating in the league and could hardly get enough of it. He assisted as a TA for numerous classes and competed in Mock Trials on teams that finished as Utah state finalists several times.  

 

Following graduation, Joseph has continued to work in education, working as an elementary instructor at a charter school in Pleasant Grove, UT, and as an online instructor for an international tutoring organization, teaching students from India, China, Greece, and all over the United States. He has also continued to be involved with the WIDL, assisting with Mock Trial Camp and organizing an alumni tournament while serving on the Executive Board.  

 

Joseph believes that earnest interaction with powerful ideas is what made his time with the WIDL so rewarding and is what education should be all about. He is excited to pay it forward by enabling that experience for as many students as he can.

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Chuck Higgins

Teacher

Chuck Higgins  is passionate about teaching the U.S. Constitution, which he took an oath to support and defend as an officer in the U.S. military. He has traveled the world as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for United Airlines. These experiences have sparked a deep interest in principles of leadership and government, which he has studied and taught to both youth and adults. 

 

Chuck graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics.  He and his wife have homeschooled their 5 children for almost 20 years. Though he can’t carry a tune and has 2 left feet, he enjoys supporting his children’s involvement in the performing arts.  When his children are not on the stage, he enjoys playing sports, hiking, camping, backpacking, and traveling with them.

Mary Stoddard

Teacher

Mary is a proud homeschool grad with a passion for quality education and mentorship. In high school, she was a successful competitor in the WIDL and participated in an independent, student-run debate and moot court club. Prior to her work with the IEP, she has taught American history and civics for homeschooled teenagers. She has also been a music teacher for the past eight years, giving piano and voice lessons from her home. 

 

Mary currently studies accounting and pre-med at Utah Valley University. She enjoys staying involved in church and community volunteer work and spending time with her family and friends. 

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Janet Hodnett

Teacher

Janet Hodnett has a Mechanical Engineering degree from BYU and a System Engineering Degree.  She worked for the Boeing Company.  Now she homeschools her 5 children and loves learning from all the varied experiences it offers.  Some organizations she's been involved in are the Long Beach Women of Faith, the Society of Women Engineers, Utah Astronomy Club, and many homeschool groups.  Some meaningful opportunities have been church teaching and leadership positions, leading a political campaign, making yarn wigs for kids with cancer, helping run a carnival for kids in a women's shelter and gathering supplies for the homeless.  Janet loves spending time with her family, finding new trails with her husband, listening to all kinds of people, reading thought provoking books, learning everything she can, painting, and watching the sunset.

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Jared Johnson

Director of Tournaments

A successful homeschool and college graduate, Jared Johnson is committed to providing high-quality courses for students pursuing alternative educations. His own education was rich and diverse, including high school college courses, AP classes, Mock Trial, Model UN, and the Wasatch Independent Debate League. These experiences prepared him for early college at Utah Valley University, a mission in Kentucky for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Brigham Young University.

Jared taught Speech and Debate for four years before transitioning to an IT career. He also coaches junior high and high school mock trial teams, and serves on the Communications and IT committee of the National High School Mock Trial board. He lives in American Fork, Utah, with his wife and two kids.

Kaelin Hirschi

Director of Civic Advocacy Program

Kaelin Hirschi is in her second year of directing the Civic Advocacy program for the WIDL. She is currently studying Public Relations at BYU with a minor in Civic Engagement. Kaelin has over 7 years of experience in speech and debate with the WIDL along with several years in mock trial as a competitor and a coach.


Kaelin loves to be outside and playing sports. She is currently on the BYU rugby team and loves to find time for soccer and pickleball as well. 

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Amber Johnson

Teacher Support

Amber Johnson graduated from Utah Valley University in 2018 with a degree in communications. Since then, Amber has taught elementary education at the Family Lyceum, a private school; served as program head and board member for Heroic Youth, a non-profit organization; and headed the 2017 leadership course for AISU’s Chinese Foreign Exchange Program. Amber also worked for six years as a public librarian and is currently homeschooling her own children. Amber taught for the Wasatch Independent Debate League in 2020-21, and is thrilled with the opportunity to return in an administrative capacity. 

Charlotte McKenzie

Executive Assistant

Charlotte McKenzie is a homeschooling mom - now for over 20 years.  She has organized,  taught and coached many classes over those years including Mock Trial, Shakespeare and lots of Knights of Freedom and Liberty Girls.  So far, 4 out of her 5 children have participated in speech and debate and all of them have loved and benefited from it. 

 

Charlotte graduated from BYU in Human Development and has started several businesses.  She loves to organize, get things done, plan a great trip or experience, and take on big projects.  She is married to Jon and mom to James, Madeleine, Nathaniel, Caleb and Emma. 

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The Executive Board

The Executive Board includes everyone listed above plus some parents and alumni.  Applications to be on the Board are taken each year.  The Executive Board plays a key role in directing and managing the Wasatch Independent Debate League. The board makes key decisions concerning the direction of the league and takes on important projects to improve the league including running the alumni tournament, running the internship program, helping determine our covid-19 response,  t-shirt sales, and many other items. 

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Zach Young

Tournaments

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Roxanna Maurer

Events and T-shirts

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Mirabella Archibald

Events

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Joseph Holt

Alumni Relations

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Elena Maurer

Events and Tournaments

Angela Richens

Non-Profit

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Jenna Southwick

Events and Tournaments

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Matthew Hatch

Student Council President