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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Grace Fary

Kids In Bloom Director and Lead Teacher

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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. Grace has student-taught at a Bilingual Elementary school and eventually became a lead teacher in a Universal Pre-Kindergarten class, after which she completed her Masters’ degree from the City College of New York. Going on her second year as Kids In Bloom director and lead teacher, she aims to create a classroom environment that is inviting, enlightening, and always fun!

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Garrett Elbert

Lead 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 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, Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher

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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. 

Jillian Vitko

Kids In Bloom Lead Teacher

Hailing from Pennsylvania, Jillian holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. Her experiences in theatre and music means she's always looking for ways to incorporate more creativity and self-expression into children's lives - whether it's through music, movement, or art. 

 

Recently, Jillian has worked in elementary schools throughout Manhattan as an after school teacher with the Art and Science program Art N Orbit, where she led classes focused around science based art projects. She's also worked as a theatre director at various camps and schools, where she was able to collaborate with kids and share her passion for theater with them. She especially loved introducing these artistic ideas to the younger children, which is why she's so thrilled to be working with the three's age group here at Kids in Bloom! She really appreciates helping children use their imaginations in new and innovative ways that will help them as they grow.

Kimberley Ricketts

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 life long caregiver.

Kimberley has worked for Elliott's Classes in our Kids In Bloom pre-school alternative for over three years, and look forward to continuing to bring her ability to foster children's imaginations and their love for learning through play.

Abigail Magder

Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher

Abbi has lived in a few different cities but New York is where she calls home. Abbi graduated with a BA in History and Political Science and during her schooling completed several courses in Education studies.

While she was in high school, Abbi spent time volunteering at a Head Start program in a class for 3-4 year olds. She has worked with kids from 5 to 18 years old, and has been tutoring students of all ages for over 5 years. Outside of Kids in Bloom, Abbi works part time as a writer and sports photographer. Abbi is beyond excited to be a part of Kids in Bloom and looks forward to fostering an environment filled with fun and creativity for all! 

Carmen Montoya

Kids In Bloom Assistant Teacher

Carmen Montoya was born and raised in New York City, growing up on the Upper West Side for the first few years of her life before her family moved to the East Side. She has been a caregiver from the time she was a preteen, eventually becoming a mentor to adolescents in the East Harlem Tutorial Program, a community-based education and enrichment program. As of the beginning of 2016, Carmen transitioned from a of 13-year career at NJ Transit Customer Service to the field of education, when she decided to pursue a teaching degree. 

She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in childhood education for grades 1-6 in addition to a TESOL certification, and ultimately hopes to work with immigrant communities at all age levels. Carmen hopes to continue to make many new friends, and to contribute to an enriching and fun experience for all students.