Jon Thorpe, Managing Director and Founder
Jon is the Managing Director of Club Parli LLC, an organization that provides best-in-class parliamentary debate coaching to Bay Area middle school and high schools alongside its independent club team. Jon also founded the POI Debate Institute at UC Berkeley in 2013 and has overseen its development into the nation’s best high school parliamentary debate summer program. Jon founded the debate program in 2007 at Oakland’s Bishop O’Dowd High School and oversaw its development into one of the nation’s elite programs. O’Dowd debaters have won almost every major parliamentary debate tournament including the Yale Invitational, the Stanford Invitational, and the California State Tournament. However, while coaching, Jon quickly understood the lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity in the activity was abysmal. While coaches talked year in and year out about trying to address this program, no action’s been taken, until now. Jon is exceptionally excited to see parliamentary debate take root in new soil.
David Saulet, Program Director
David “Bear” Saulet is Curriculum Director at Club Parli and has coached hundreds of students from both the United States as well as visiting students from abroad at various camps and tournaments. Having directed over 15 summer debate institutes, David has a long track record of coaching experience in addition to a history of competitive success in NPDA/NPTE collegiate debate. Viewing debate as a uniquely optimal avenue for students to become better critical thinkers, leaders, and communicators, David is committed to the ongoing project of expanding access to debate for students throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Alexander James (AJ), Coach
AJ has been involved with debate for 10 years, beginning as a sophomore in high school in the homeschool debate circuit of Southern California. He went to San Diego State University to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and competed on their parliamentary debate team. At the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship Tournament in 2015 he represented the US in the yearly public debate against the Irish national debate team. After graduating, he coached for Palomar Community College, earning the Marc Ouimet Service Award in 2015. Between 2016 and 2018, Alexander has worked at Homeless Advocacy Project in San Francisco, providing legal representation to homeless and no-income residents seeking Social Security disability benefits. His priority as a debate coach for Brewer is to provide students with comprehensive argumentation skills, a supportive environment to grow, and critical knowledge about real-life experiences.