Instructors 

We are very proud of the amazing talent we have on our team.  We feel great instructors are the core to a great learning environment! 

 
 
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Elliott Cortez

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
 

Beata Gomes

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, 3 of which with Elliott's Classes. 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”  

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Garrett Elbert

Lead Gymnastics Instructor

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 newborn to 9 years.

Going on his second year with Elliott's Classes, Garrett is excited to continue his enthusiasm for Spanish and childhood education!

 

Kayla McDonald

Lead Instructor

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Kayla has just moved to New York from Utah to discover all the city has to offer and further her education! She holds a degree in Nutrition and Human Development, which she obtained after deciding her goal was to combine nutrition and movement in a fun way to enrich children’s lives.

Kayla has worked with children of all ages, from newborn to 18 years, and people across the entire lifespan. She began working in her local school district in Utah where she specialized in developmental disabilities behavior modification and taught reading skills. In addition, she has many years under her belt working as a nanny for multiple children.

She is looking forward to discovering different approaches to healthy living and using her experience and education to enhance every child’s experience at Elliott’s Classes.