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Head Coach

Silicon Valley Urban Debate League Head Coach Job Description

Position Overview

SVUDL Head Coach positions are key to the delivery, growth, and impact of the SVUDL program in our partnering schools, helping build and implement a shared vision among all stakeholders, including youth, teachers, SVUDL staff, volunteers, and the school community. The Head Coach is responsible for teams and programming in up to 3 partner schools at a time and is the catalyst and main point of contact of the debate team at each partner school.

The Head Coach delivers debate instruction directly to students at their partner schools and works with school staff to recruit, develop, and sustain teams at each of the Head Coach’s partner schools, ensuring their students are actively engaged in competition opportunities. The Head Coach position of the Urban Debate League model requires a proactive, engaging, and dedicated team player who puts the needs of youth first. Head Coaches are also responsible for the administrative, supervisory, and logistical demands of running the debate teams at their assigned schools. The Head Coach spends approximately 80% of their working hours in the field (primarily at their partner schools, though also at tournaments and community partner sites as necessary and appropriate), and 20% of their working hours at the SVUDL office in Milpitas.

The Head Coach reports to a Senior Head Coach and works collaboratively with fellow Head Coaches, program and administrative staff, and the Executive Director.


Primary Responsibilities

Program Building

The Head Coach will directly implement activities and systems to build effective debate programs at participating schools and is responsible to:

  • Teach and coach students in policy debate, running at least two weekly two-hour practices at each partner school:
    • In the event that after-school practices are not workable for student schedules, the Head Coach will move or add practices to alternative windows (e.g., lunch, free periods).
    • This includes recruiting students to attend practice, hosting public debates and other recruitment efforts, and/or moving practices to accommodate students.
  • Work with all Program staff to develop case positions, block strategies, research tools, and evidence packets for students.
  • Recruit new students to participate in debate at partner schools.
  • Engage judges, volunteers, parents, and stakeholders through regular communications and semester events.
  • Build debate team membership and retention through consistent school site visits, email, video, phone, and other communications; including team building activities such as research excursions, student and team/school recognition events, etc.
  • Develop, share, and employ coaching and instructional resources, including core files.
  • Upload all attendance/participation data into appropriate databases.
  • Contribute as requested to the development of a debate course curriculum.
  • Collaborate with school administration, teachers, resource providers, and stakeholders to build a culture of debate in the larger school community through public debates, community engagement opportunities, and events.
    • Includes effective and thorough communication of all SVUDL activity and events, planning of practices, on-campus recruiting events, and monthly meals in coordination with teacher partners.
  • Recruit students to participate in special events or programs (ex. mentoring, Moot Court, funder visits, etc.).


Tournament/Event Administration

The Head Coach works directly with the Director of Programs to manage and execute several competitive debate tournaments, workshops, and events each year. These responsibilities include supervision of staff, volunteers, and contractors or direct implementation of the following:

  • Assist with event planning and preparation, scheduling, site logistics, judge recruitment, and awards.
  • Complete tournament registration for all interested teams at assigned partner schools, including coordinating with the program team to arrange transportation, meals, and judging obligations.
    • Head coaches are also responsible for ensuring that SVUDL tournaments are promoted at partner schools well in advance, and for ensuring that all partner schools participate at every tournament;
  • Manage invitationals and public debate tournaments, including tournament structure,
    transportation, preparation of materials, and training of students, assistant coaches, and judges.
  • Collaborate on planning, expansion, efficacy, and execution of SVUDL Summer Debate Institute.


Relationships with Schools and Community Stakeholders

The Head Coach works with the Director of Programs to develop and maintain a strong school and community relationships, including but not limited to the following:

  • Partner school principals, administrators, and teachers to ensure sound program implementation, including event, follow up and program updates.
    • Partially achieved through outreach and incorporation of student, admin, and teacher feedback on an ongoing basis.
    • Includes serving as an ambassador for debate by having a consistent school presence for any/all SVUDL/debate related activity; adhering to all school and classroom policies and procedures at all times; welcoming teacher partners (regardless of their debate experience) to their role and keeping them updated with information relevant to all SVUDL/debate activity, including practices, tournaments, field trips, etc.
  • University debate programs, law firms/professors, and other relevant institutions and organizations for support and involvement.
  • Produce program narratives and other written materials as requested, and meet with/host funders, as necessary.
  • Prepare program reports as requested.
  • Provide professional development and training to school staff, Junior Coaches, interns, and volunteers as needed.

Job Qualifications

The ideal candidate has extensive experience in high school policy debate and experience with urban debate education systems and populations. They are proactive, detail-oriented and focused on student development. In addition to completing or coaching high school CX debate, other qualifications considered are:

  • Bachelors or higher degree with a strong academic record.
  • A minimum of 2-5 years of relevant professional work experience, including but not limited to at least one year of collegiate policy debate experience or coaching.
  • Experience as a teacher or direct experience working with teachers, curriculum, and public school districts – urban public school experience and experience with curricular design a plus.
  • Experience in managing and prioritizing multiple assignments.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Effective and motivational leadership experience.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively and independently in a diverse work environment.
  • Strong work ethic, supported by a commitment to mission and follow-through.
  • Fluency in computer skills, including Word, Excel, and internet-based programs.
  • Passion for educating and improving the lives of urban youth through debate.

The salary for this position is commensurate with experience, within the $55k-$60k range. Generous paid time off, health, and retirement, benefits package offered.

Applying for the position:

Please send a resume, cover letter, and recent writing sample to jobs@svudl.org with “SVUDL Head Coach” in the e-mail subject line. In your cover letter, please share why you are interested in the job, and why you believe your experiences and skills are a good fit for the position. If you have questions that would affect your interest in applying, please e-mail jobs@svudl.org and we can set up a time to talk.


The Silicon Valley Urban Debate League is deeply committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace because we believe in the value of different experiences, skills, and voices in strengthening our work and achieving our mission. We also strive to have our team reflect the ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic diversity of the communities we work with and for. Because of this, we especially want to encourage people of color to apply for the position. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, pregnancy, childbirth, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic as established by applicable federal, state, or local law.

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