New speech coach begins first season at CF

Cedar Falls High School recently hired a new speech coach, Rob Chagdes.

“The previous coach moved on to a new season of life, and left a solid foundation to build on. I chose this role because one of my strengths is building something up, creating a healthy culture, and setting others up for success. The athletic director is a proven leader, and when I learned we were on the same page with our coaching philosophy, coaching speech seemed like a great fit. We are fortunate to have some students who are speech veterans and others who are strong leaders. It’s a huge benefit to have those students involved and because of that I felt confident we could also attract people who have never done speech,” Chagdes said. 

“I am originally from Chicago, though I have lived in several Midwest states and also had a season in south Florida. My wife Leslie and I have been married for 25 years, and we have three daughters who are spread out from high school through college. I have a deep passion to help people grow in their leadership and move toward success in whatever area they are pursuing. I am also a huge baseball fan (Go, White Sox!) and love to travel.” 

Chagdes has worked with students in various ways for the past 26 years. 

“Years ago, I had the opportunity to coach softball while working at a school in Florida. It was a great experience, and I loved working with our team. Now that my daughters are older and busier, I decided I wanted to see what coaching opportunities were available. I have experience in public speaking and also felt confident I could invite others to come alongside our team and help them grow in their speaking events.” 

“The goal of speech is to encourage young people to grow in their ability to communicate. In speech, we have both group and individual events. These events compete at a District, State and All-State level. This year, I invited students to meet with me one on one so I can get to know them, learn the events that interest them and take steps to set them up for success in speech. Once this is done, they are placed in events where they practice and prepare for Group District Contest in January. One key has been mapping out both my schedule and to-do list in advance. Every Sunday, I make sure this is set, which allows me to know what to expect each day. Getting everything done can sometimes lead to early mornings and late nights, so having my priorities in line is so important. I do not want to neglect my family, my job or my self care, so that becomes a priority every week. I also can work remotely, which helps with both my job and with coaching speech,” Chagdes said.

Those interested in joining speech can still email him at

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