Kerry Konda

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Aberdeen Central High School’s Kerry Konda has been named the 2024 National Speech and Debate Coach of the Year by the National Speech and Debate Association.

The NSDA will present Konda with the award at the national tournament in June.

Konda has been head coach of the CHS Speech and Debate Team since 2009, leading the team into a long legacy of success. That includes a No. 8 ranking in the nation last fall, and the team’s eighth consecutive state championship this spring.

In her nomination letter, Abiah George called Konda the “instigating power, the heartbeat of the team that I now consider my second family.” 

George, a former CHS team member who is now a coach, said Konda changed her life. 

“If it weren't for him pushing me to find my voice, to ‘Work Hard Be Heard’—our team motto—I would have never truly understood my potential,” she said.

George said that Konda—fondly referred to as ‘Kondad’ due to his constant support and encouragement—leads by example in showing the importance of being there for one another. 

“Steered by Mr. Konda, we didn't just become strong debaters; we evolved into better, more empathetic humans who aspire to leave a positive mark on everyone we come in contact with,” George said. “He raised us to be resilient individuals ready to tackle the pressing issues plaguing our communities, a testament to his four national student of the year finalists. He is persistent in pushing us to pursue our dreams and works tirelessly to help us make it happen.” 

About the Aberdeen Public School District

The Aberdeen Public School District provides a comprehensive educational program to approximately 4,200 students in grades K-12, with a mission of empowering all students to succeed in a changing world. Our students receive the knowledge and skills necessary to reach their potential in a global community through high expectations of academic achievement; diverse educational opportunities; and community involvement in a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at