Katie Teubl leaves debate society equipped to lead


The King’s College Debate Society coach Katie Teubl resigned for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Teubl fully believes that her time at King's was God ordained.  She planned on attending New York University for her masters degree while coaching and then keeping her position at King's thereafter.  Since then, she has felt God calling her to China, and regrettably, she must move on from King's to follow that calling. Teubl came to King’s two years ago after coaching high school debate.  She received a generous scholarship from NYU and learned of the coaching position off-hand from a colleague.  While it seemed like a long shot, Teubl took action.  She said of finding King’s, “The Lord worked it out.”

What convinced her to accept the leadership role was a connection she felt to the students.  She believes debate should be about communicating ideas through a discussion platform rather than stifling ideas through argument.  She saw right away that the students at King’s “cared about truth, not just competition.”

Teubl welcomed students who were interested in debate and transformed them into compassionate yet strong debaters.  The students already had hearts for the ideas, but Teubl taught them the skills necessary to articulate those ideas.

Current debate president Josiah Peterson said that when Teubl took over, "we more than doubled in size, forayed into the international arena, hosted our own tournament and public events and became a team known for its competitive success.”

Nevertheless, neither Peterson nor Teubl believe the team’s win record is its biggest accomplishment. “To reduce accomplishments to competition doesn’t tell the whole story,” Teubl said.

The whole story includes “some of those informal, untold conversations that happen in between rounds where people are able to challenge others in their thinking.” Even in an informal interview setting, Teubl teaches the importance of communicating ideas in a persuasive, empathetic way.  She sees her work at King’s as a time of fostering cultural influence, not a laundry list of accomplishments.

John Sailer, freshman and King’s College Interregnum debate finalist, said of Teubl, “Not only does she know so much about debate, persuasion and public speaking, but she also really knows how to work with the debate community.”  The team's endeavors are both public and private, forming a community that treats people as individuals first, competitors second.

During their interaction, students not only challenged others' ideas but also “accepted the challenge to really think carefully about the way that they live their lives,” Teubl explained. The team has encouraged others to grow by compassionately confronting them for conversation in a non-competitive setting.  Teubl said these extra conversations have widened King's students' perspectives.

Not only have other teams challenged the students during and after debate rounds, but Teubl has also challenged them with the way she herself leads.  Peterson noted, “Katie is one of the most humble, prayerful,and faithful people I know, with an eye towards truth and a heart towards everyone, leading with conviction and compassion.”  Teubl taught The King’s College Debate Society how to further ideas both on and off the platform.

As the team moves forward with Greg DuBois as the new President, Teubl leaves the debaters with a word of inspiration: “One person can come along with a new term in the debate that can change the trajectory of a nation. You need to be prepared and skilled to do that.”  With Teubl’s advice, the King’s College Debate Society will present truth in debate; with her influence though, it will further truth in a new way: leadership.