Ph.D. & Founder of Elliott's Classes
Elliott Cortez, Ph.D. is the founder of Elliott's Classes, movement education classes that have been improving the physical, cognitive and emotional development of children in New York City since 1992. As a child psychologist and former gymnast, Elliott designed Elliott's Classes to optimize learning through movement science to enrich all aspects of a child's life. This unique approach has been coined, "The Elliott Method". According to Elliott, "I like to see the world through childrens' eyes and speak to them as if they are my equals." Elliott provides every child with individualized attention and believes addressing a child's special needs at an early stage is critical in enhancing their development.
Elliott found his passion for gymnastics at a young age and began competing professionally at the age of 7. Following his retirement from professional competition, he joined the world renowned Bela Karolyi Training Center in 1985 as a trainer certified by the United States Gymnastics Federation.
In 1987, Elliott earned his Ph.D. in child psychology from Texas A&M, after which he formed his own practice. As part of treatment, Elliott often advised patients to enroll in gymnastics to build social and behavioral skills. He put his technique into practice by developing a National Gymnastic Training Program for high risk children at the YMCA and elementary public schools in Houston, Texas. This program ultimately formed the basis for "The Elliott Method". Ultimately, these children showed improvement in their overall school performance and behavioral problems were minimized.
Following the success of this program, Elliott began leading classes at several children's gymnastics centers in New York City. The response to his programming was overwhelming and compelled him to open Elliott's Gymnastics Center. Today, Elliott's Classes has evolved into a center with a full range of children's programming with the goal of making a positive impact on as many children as possible.
Elliott's Classes have earned recognition from many early childhood specialists including physicians who recommend parents with at-risk children as young as 8 weeks to enroll in Elliott's Classes. Elliott's work has brought him significant recognition for early childcare services:
- Elliott's Classes Named Among "Best Gyms for Kids in NY" by CBS News in 2012
- 1999 New Yorker of the Week by NY1 in recognition for "working to do what is right and good for our children and our future"
- 1999 Hero of the Year award by Big Apple Parents Guide, recognized for "good deeds in helping others and improving the quality of life in NYC"
- Appearances in several "Sesame Street" videos including "Elmocize" and "Count on Sports"
- 1995 release of "Elliott's Gym for Kids" video, bringing exercise to children in their homes
Lead Gymnastics and Dance Instructor
Nicole was raised on our very own Upper West Side! Her gymnastics career began in mommy and me classes similar to Elliott’s Method before she moved on to Columbus Gym and then the recreational gymnastics team at the West Side Y. She proudly competed on the varsity gymnastics team for Horace Mann for six seasons, helping lead the Lady Lions to A.A.I.S. championships.
In middle and high school, Nicole pursued her love for children as a mother’s helper, babysitter, tutor, mentor, camp counselor, and swim instructor. During her French and premedical studies at Georgetown University, she worked with preschoolers as an Assistant Teacher for the Hoya Kids Learning Center. After college, Nicole developed expertise in Early Childhood Development and Parenting as a Teacher for the Early Child Development Center at the Center for Comprehensive Health Practice. She also returned to the Horace Mann gymnastics team as a Coach for three seasons.
As an instructor at Elliott’s, Nicole is thrilled to have the opportunity to combine her passions for children and gymnastics.
Lead Gymnastics Instructor
Beata Gomes was born and raised in Rzeszow, Poland. She received her honorable Master’s Degree from the Physical Education Pedagogy Academy of Rzeszow University, Poland.
Beata has over 20 years of teaching experience. Beata’s great affinity to mentor and teach children not only proved to be successful, but also earned great recognition in her career as an elementary school teacher in Poland. After moving to NYC she continued her passion of early child development teaching.
Beata’s favorite saying is:
“If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn”
Gymnastics Instructor and Kids In Bloom Lead Teacher
Garrett was born and raised out west in Logan, Utah. He began gymnastics at the age of 4 and competed for 7 years before transitioning to power tumbling and trampoline, where he competed at a national level. Garrett first knew childhood development and education was his passion when he volunteered in an orphanage in Guatamala for two consecutive summers, and during high school where he taught mommy and me swimming classes for three years.
After high school, Garrett expanded his knowledge and fluency of the Spanish language when he lived in Mexico for two years doing missionary work, falling in love with the culture and prompting him to incoporate Spanish into his work with children. Upon returning to the United States, Garrett worked in a bilingual Head Start program designed for the children of migrant farm workers, and has worked with children ages 6 months to 5 years.
As a new resident of New York City, Garrett is excited to continue his enthusiasm for Spanish and childhood education with Elliott's Classes.
Kids In Bloom Director and Lead Teacher
Originally from New Orleans, Grace Fary holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Tulane University. There, she worked as a substitute teacher and a summer camp teacher for classes of 2-4 year olds. She spent her junior year in Santiago de Chile, studying in Chilean universities. After returning to Louisiana, she interned at a charter elementary school, acting as a liaison between the school and Spanish-speaking families.
She came to New York to pursue a Masters in Bilingual Education. Since beginning the program, Grace has student-taught at a Bilingual Elementary school and eventually became a lead teacher in a Universal Pre-Kindergarten class. She joined Elliott’s this summer, as she completed her Masters’ degree from the City College of New York. She aims to create a classroom environment that is inviting, enlightening, and always fun. She looks forward to a great year!
Kids in Bloom Assistant Teacher
Kimberley was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, New York. During high school she developed a love for working with children when she was an avid volunteer at a neighborhood daycare. Being and working with children has been passed down to her from her mother, who has been a livelong caregiver.
Kimberley has worked for Elliott’s Classes in our Kids In Bloom pre-school alternative for over two years, and looks forward to continue to bring her ability to foster children’s imaginations and their love for learning through play.
Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher
Melissa was born in New Jersey and raised in Midtown Manhattan. During high school she did various internships working with children, including an Early Head Start program, a preschool, and an afterschool art program. She also has played a role in raising her niece and has a five year old daughter.
Before joining Elliott's, Melissa worked at the Kumon of Midtown West Math and Reading center since its opening in 2009. She recently obtained her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Early Childhood Education at Lehman College. She took extra graduate level Early Childhood Education courses during her senior year and has done fieldwork in an elementary school classroom.
Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher
Suzanne was born in Queens, NY and grew up in Westchester County, NY. Looking for a change, she ventured to the Deep South to earn a BA in History, at Tulane University, in New Orleans. Upon graduation, Suzanne lived and worked in Philadelphia, before returning to the Big Apple to earn her Master's degree in Elementary Education at Hunter College. By returning, Suzanne discovered, she really is a New Yorker at heart! As a second-grade teacher, she spent four years working for the New York City Board of Education. Suzanne loved working with her students to develop and strengthen critical reading and math skills, while keeping learning fun and engaging.
When Suzanne had children, she decided it was time to stay home to care for her growing children. Now that her son is 13, and her daughter is 10, Suzanne is so happy to be working with children again. Suzanne loves the energy and curiosity that preschoolers bring to the classroom everyday!