Our Incredible Team
Mark Deaton

President & Arlington Director

Mark was elected WACFL president in spring 2023, after serving as Lincoln-Douglas Tournament Director.  Mark competed in Policy debate in both high school and college.  Most recently, he was a business and technology teacher at Westfield High School in Chantilly, VA.  Now retired from full-time teaching, Mark continues as the Westfield HS debate team coach.  Prior to becoming a teacher, he worked for 25 years at some of the world’s leading technology companies in sales and marketing roles.

Mark believes that speech and debate can transform lives, improving students’ confidence and teaching invaluable communication skills.  He enjoys recruiting new schools and coaches to this amazing activity.  When not at a WACFL tournament, he enjoys bicycling and travelling to Estonia.

Mark has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Ohio University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.

Ann Marie Duffy

Washington Director & former NCFL President


Roland Burdett

Secretary-Treasurer & NCFL National Tournament Director

Roland is a proud alum of WACFL.  He competed in Debate, Congress, and Speech at Mt. Vernon High School, and then in Debate at George Mason University.  He has served as Coach or Assistant Coach at Mt. Vernon HS, Woodbridge SHS, and Hayfield Secondary.  He has served WACFL as the Vice-President of LD Debate, League President, and has been the Secretary/Treasurer of WACFL since 1998.  He has served NCFL on their Executive Council, including as NCFL’s President, and has been the NCFL National Tournament Director since 2006.

In his professional life, Roland is the President & CEO of Miklos Systems, Inc., an employee-owned government contracting software development firm in Fairfax.  Before taking on his management role, he was a systems and applications programmer, and a systems engineer and has a BS in Computer Science.

Roland strongly believes that speech and debate laid the groundwork for his professional life and have contributed directly to his success.  He serves the WACFL and NCFL community in recognition and appreciation of everyone who worked so hard to make the opportunities possible for him.  He pays these past leaders back by serving today’s students.

Danielle Jones

Policy Debate Vice President


Larry Gusman

Policy Debate Tournament Director

Larry is an alum of the Washington Forensics League, now WACFL.  Like Roland, he competed in policy debate and speech at Mt. Vernon High School.  Currently, Larry is the Assistant Coach to Sheryl Gusman, the Head Coach for Dominion High School Speech and Debate.  He has served as both Student Congress Debate and Policy Debate Tournament Director.   

In his professional life, Larry is the Legal Counsel of Technica Corporation.  He is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Roger J. Miner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Larry believes his success as an attorney is a result of speech and debate.  He has used his dramatic interp experience in trials and his policy debate experience in court.  He shares his twenty plus years’ WACFL coaching experience with any student to help them find their voice.

Meghan Pafumi

Speech Vice President


Chuck Ehrman

Speech Tournament Director


Richard Henkle

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Vice President


Individual TBD

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Tournament Director


Jim Dunning

Public Forum Debate Vice President

Jim coached the Broad Run High School Debate & Speech Team for the past decade and has been part of the WACFL Executive Council for just about as long. He values competitive high school forensics for its contribution to developing skepticism. In his non-team moments, Jim is a passionate Unschooler. 

Robert Biemesderfer

Public Forum Debate Tournament Director


Sheryl Gusman

Student Congress Vice President

Sheryl is also a proud alum of WACFL.  She competed in Policy Debate and Speech at Ft. Hunt High School in Alexandria, VA.  Sheryl is the Speech and Debate Coach  at Dominion High School in Sterling, VA and teaches US History there as well.  She has served WACFL as the Vice-President or Tournament Director of Student Congress since 2012. 

Sheryl strongly believes that speech and debate helps students find their voice and lays the groundwork for success later in life just as it did for her.  She serves the WACFL and NCFL community to pay it forward for today’s students and in honor and gratitude for those who enabled her to learn and succeed in both Speech and Debate and all endeavors in her future.

In addition to Speech and Debate, Sheryl enjoys spending time with her family, reading, travel, and solving puzzles.

Marie Bakke

Student Congress Tournament Director