Woodbury Coach Bios! the courageous leaders who choose to spend time with teenagers
Suzanne White Head Coach
Speech is a huge part of Suzanne's life. She went to college for speech, met her husband in speech and adores coaching the Woodbury team so incredibly much!
She has coached two other high school teams (one of which was the Illinois State Champion team), and coached at Illinois State University (nationally ranked team).
During her time as a coach, she has coached multiple state and national champions. As a competitor, she was a State Champion in both PA and Interp events, national quarterfinalist in Interp and PA events, and was 2nd in Informative Speaking and 3rd in Oratory at Nationals.
When she is not at speech, she spends her time teaching Communication Studies at a local community college and hanging out with her daughter, kitties and husband, Dillon.
Alli Rekow Assistant Coach
Alli's passion for speech was developed as a high school student. A Woodbury High School alum, she had great competitive success in the categories Creative Expression and Humorous Interpretation, placing 7th in Creative Expression at the State Tournament in 2008.
At the University of Wisconsin - Madison she honed her writing and performative skills, majoring in English and Theatre with an emphasis in Shakespeare and Creative Writing. While at Madison, Alli led theatre workshops for high school students through a community outreach program.
Now back in Minnesota and a living in Minneapolis, she works for a nonprofit and specializes in student outreach and engagement. When she is not coaching speech she can be seen performing with The Houlihans, one of the Twin Cities premier improv groups. The Houlihans have performed on some of the nation's largest improv stages, and are who instilled in her the "Yes, and-" attitude she has brought to the Royal speech team.
Amanda Meemken Assistant Coach
Amanda's passion for speech started in 7th grade and hasn't stopped yet. She was a top competitor throughout high school in Storytelling and Great Speeches. After graduation, Amanda continued to participate in speech as a judge for competitions around the state.
Amanda has a degree in electrical engineering and recently completed her MBA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. As Minnesota natives, Amanda and her fiancé, Dustin, are excited to be back in the land of lakes. Amanda works at Microsoft and enjoys bringing a bit of her nerdy side to everything she does. In her free time Amanda has fun biking, baking, and being crafty. Most importantly, she is excited to be a part of the Woodbury Speech Team!
Michael Chouinard Assistant Coach
Speech has been a top priority for Mike since 7th grade. A four-time state qualifier, Mike was the 2001 runner-up in Extemporaneous Reading and 2002 MSHSL state champion in Prose. He went on to compete for Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, where he earned numerous state titles and an individual sweepstakes championship in 2006, as well as national outrounds in Poetry and Duo Interpretation. Following his own competitive career, Mike spent two years as a graduate student coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and four (much warmer) years coaching and directing the program at Florida State University while working on his doctorate in Communication Studies. After earning his Ph.D. from FSU, Mike spent three years as a Professor of Speech and Assistant Director of Forensics at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He is extremely proud of his students' many accomplishments as speech competitors, team members, and people.
After eight years in Florida, Mike is thrilled to be back home in the land of 10,000 lakes and teaching Communication at Normandale Community College. Moving north, he expected this to be one of the first times in nearly two decades he would not be directly involved in speech, but he would be "Lion" if he said he isn't Royal-ly excited to help coach this impressive Woodbury team!
Dillon White Co-Head Coach
Dillon has been involved in speech since 2002. After competing on the state and national circuits in high school, Dillon attended Northwestern University in Chicago, where he competed for four years. As a member of the speech team at NU, Dillon set a school record with 10 national finals, six in Public Address categories and four in Interpretation events. He won two national championships, the first in Persuasive Speaking and the second in Informative Speaking, and was also a three-time recipient of pentathlon and individual sweepstakes awards at Nationals. He also won State three times, both in Interp and PA.
After Northwestern, Dillon completed a Master's degree in Communication Studies at Illinois State University, where he coached five national champions for the ISU speech team.
He graduated law school at the U of M and after several years working for the firm Lindquist & Vennum in downtown Minneapolis, Dillon is now full-time Business Law Professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. When he's not coaching, he's hanging out with his dog/cats and/or making a fool of himself in front of his daughter. And sometimes hanging out with Suzanne.
Eric Ward Assistant Coach
Eric participated in Speech throughout high school and plans to carry his Speech career into college as well. He competed in both Discussion and Prose. Eric was very competitively successful during high school and was 8th at the State Tournament.
Outside of Speech, Eric also been a part of several theater productions, bands and choirs but never felt more at home than he did in Speech. Watching his team grow and succeed was such an amazing experience and he's extremely excited to get to come back and do it again as a coach!
Maddie Kanda Assistant Coach
Maddie competed in speech all throughout high school at Woodbury, in both Public Address and interp categories. Most of her success was in Poetry, where she was a champion and finalist on many occasions.
Outside of speech, Maddie is studying at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls and is pursuing a degree in Criminology. She plans to go into Law enforcement after college.
Speech was the most influential part of high school and she is excited to be back as an alumni coach.
Chad Kuyper Assistant Coach
Chad's passion for speech started in 10th grade when he joined the Owatonna High School Speech Team at the urging of a librarian who overheard him giving a speech on Dungeons and Dragons to his English class. Chad instantly loved the activity, and qualified for the Minnesota state tournament multiple times in Humorous Interpretation (placing 5th in 1998). Chad would go on to compete for Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he earned multiple state championships and national outrounds in both public address and interpretation events. After coaching the MSU team for three years as a graduate student, Chad directed his own collegiate forensic program for eight years at Florida State College at Jacksonville, where he coached many students to state and national success. During his time in the Sunshine State, he served as the president of the Florida Intercollegiate Forensic Association for six years, and was a member of the Executive Council of the National Forensic Association for two years.
Chad loves so many things about speech: its ability to expose students to new people and ideas, the passion and energy of the students, and teams pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves. He is thrilled to join the Royal family!