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!
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
2012, 2013, 2016 Red Tricycle's Best Kids' Sports Classes in New York
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.
Garrett has been teaching at Elliott's Classes for over two years now, and is excited to continue his enthusiasm for Spanish and childhood education!
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. She has been working with Elliott’s Classes for over 5 years.
Beata has over 20 years of teaching experience. Her 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”
Juliana Garber is a Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer, and educator from Yorktown Heights, NY. She graduated with B.A. in Choreography and Performance from Oberlin College, graduating with the Helen M. Ward Memorial Award for Excellence in Dance. She has performed in works by the Do-Mystics (Arantxa Araujo and Monique Blom), Florence Nasar, Jessica Lewis, Butch Merigoni, and Rachel Oliver, and has danced as a company member with the Indorican Multicultural Dance Project and Muliebris Dance Theatre.
She is currently working with the Open Dance Ensemble, Born Dancing, and performing in her own choreography. As a notable choreographer, her work has been featured on BRIC TV and shown at several venues throughout New York City, including Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, and Saint Peter’s Church. She enjoys working with dancers of all ages and abilities. Juliana is thrilled to be joining the Elliott’s Classes team!
Ellen Askonas is a dancer from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She graduated with high honors in dance from Oberlin College in 2015 and now lives in Brooklyn. She has had the pleasure of performing with Juliana Garber, Amy Miller, Muliebris Dance Theatre, and working with Grace Phelan on her devised production Romeo & Juliet. Her choreography has been presented at La Mama ETC and Silent Barn, and her improvised duo with Stephen Becker, Aquanaut, has been shown at Threes Brewing, Elvis Guesthouse, and Muchmore’s. She is excited to be teaching and honing her handstands with Elliott’s Gymnastics Classes now.