America’s Best Kids Staff and Instructors

 

Amy Beagle
Senior Gymnastics Coach
Amy is a native Oregonian and lived in Eugene while training for gymnastics. She has three grown sons and three grandsons who still live in the Eugene area. Amy competed as an Elite gymnast for the National Academy in Eugene and has been coaching off and on for over 40 years. Her favorite event to coach is beam which was also her favorite to do! Motto: “I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been.” - Christopher Robin
About Amy
Madelyn Bennett
Swim Instructor
Madelyn is athletic and musical. She enjoys being outdoors and meeting and connecting with others. Specialties: Madelyn has her Starguard lifeguard certification. Motto: "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." -Vince Lombardi
About Madelyn
Bri Berryessa
Enrichment Department Leader
Bri leads the Enrichment team - including After School Care and Summer Camps at America's Best Kids.
About Bri
Don Berryessa
Owner, President America’s Best Kids Inc.
Don holds a 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, is the Chief Master Instructor for all the Oregon America’s Best Karate Academies, and he serves as President of America’s Best Kids, Inc. Mr. Berryessa started his martial arts training at six years old when his father, an accomplished Judo practitioner and wrestler, would spend hours wrestling and showing him moves on the living room floor. From this solid foundation, he pursued more formal training in a wide variety of disciplines. In 1992 Master Berryessa became partners with five-time World Champion, Master George Chung (founder of America’s Best Karate), as well as three-time World Champion, Master Anthony Chan. Through this alliance and the help of dedicated instructors like Master Waldschmidt and Master Penner they built one of the most successful Martial Arts programs in the country. In 2000 Master Berryessa decided to leave the organization to spend more time with his wife and family. On September 11, 2001 Master Berryessa opened America’s Best Karate of Medford in a small 1200 sq. ft facility. Master Berryessa, like many on that day, felt an even greater responsibility as an American to help his country. He felt the best way he could do this was to help as many children as possible learn values, life skills, and principles. He knew that virtues like responsibility, honesty, trust, perseverance, stewardship and servitude were naturally ingrained in the teachings of Martial Arts, but he wanted to provide even more programs to mentor youth. So, with the help of his wife Sheri Berryessa, a Black Belt and accomplished gymnast, along with several very dedicated teachers at ABK, they created the current 30,000 square foot Americas Best Kids Sports and Learning Center that helps mentor more than 1500 children weekly.
About Don
Sheri Berryessa
Owner, Gymnastics Director
Sheri is a National Instructor for USA Gymnastics and has many certifications in recreational, preschool and competitive gymnastics. She has taught gymnastics for over 30 years and has a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. My favorite thing about teaching and coaching are those moments when a student really understands something. I love it when you see the look on their face that screams, "I GOT IT"!
About Sheri
Sophia Berryessa
Swim & Dance Instructor
Sophia teaches swim at America's Best Kids.
About Sophia
Erica Flynn
ABK Dance Program Department Leader
About Erica: Erica is a very hard worker and LOVES what she does. She not only runs the Dance Program at ABK, but she is also the mother of two beautiful girls and the lead singer of a local country/rock band. Erica grew up dancing and singing starting at the age of 3 with styles including: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. Erica continues to grow her education in dance by attending workshops and takes classes online to further her knowledge as a dance instructor. Motto: “You will never fail until you stop trying.”
About Erica
Heidi Fogarty
ABK Customer Service Department Leader & Human Resources
Heidi has been coaching gymnastics from preschool age through the competitive team level for more than 20 years and joined the ABK family in 2013. While she currently spends more time at the Customer Service desk and behind the scenes administratively, it’s her passion for the sport of gymnastics that originally brought her to ABK. Heidi is an active and certified Level 10 rated gymnastics judge and serves on the USA Gymnastics Oregon State Administrative Committee as the Xcel Representative in her spare time. By far, though, her favorite past time, is spending time with her husband, Shane, and 2 sons, Jack and Max. Motto: “You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
About Heidi
Shane Fogarty
Lead Karate Instructor
Shane has studied martial arts throughout his life, mainly Kempo and more recently Tae Kwon Do. Mr. Fogarty graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle with a degree in Computer Animation and Multimedia. Mr. Fogarty currently serves as one of the lead instructors for America’s Best Karate of North Medford. In addition, he is a certified unarmed security professional. Mr. Fogarty enjoys outdoor activities, knife throwing, table top gaming, and spending time with his wife and 2 sons.
About Shane
Halle Harris
Gymnastics Coach
Halle has been apart of ABK since the age of 2! She loves all things gymnastics! Halle was a gymnast here at ABK for almost 15 years, ending her gymnastics career as a Level 7 team leader! Motto: “Don’t let your fears interfere with your outcomes.”
About Halle
Blaine Howitt
Enrichment Program Coordinator
Blaine has been with the ABK Enrichment program for nearly 5 years and truly loves interacting with the kids, helping them grow into outstanding young people. Blaine’s strengths include diligence in the organization of student activities, and scheduling. Strong communication with families and their children is another of Blaine’s strengths. Motto: "I love inside jokes. I'd love to be a part of one someday."
About Blaine
Lance Howitt
Enrichment Program Instructor
Lance is happy to be from the Rogue Valley and loves helping kids grow socially and mentally. His 2 favorite things are making people laugh and tacos! Lance has been working with kids since he graduated highschool and has had the opportunity to work with all ages (birth-young adults) in multiple capacities. It turns out he must be good at it because Lance is still doing it 10 years later! Lance’s favorite school subjects are math and science.As an instructor, he is willing to do anything to make learning fun and exciting (including singing, dancing, and the occasional costume if necessary). Motto: "Whatever you're doing give 100%... unless you're giving blood."
About Lance
Chrislyn Kircher
Gymnastics Coach and Enrichment Instructor
Chrislyn is married to a military man, so she’s not always working at ABK, but it is her favorite place to work! She has a dog named Dean, and he's her baby. Chrislyn has been working with children for about 8 years, and did gymnastics at ABK as a child. She absolutely loves working with children. Teaching is what she is most passionate about, and she hopes to open her own preschool one day. Motto: ¡Sea feliz!
About Chrislyn
Alyssa Lytle
Gymnastics Department Leader and Team ABK Gymnastics Head Coach
Alyssa has lived in the Rogue Valley her whole life and graduated from Crater High School. She married her husband in 2014 and had a son, Wade, in 2017. Alyssa loves tacos and tea. She has been coaching since 2008 here at ABK and currently coaches everything from babies to teens at every level of gymnastics ABK has to offer. Alyssa was a gymnast for 14 years prior to coaching and has coached many state and regional champions in her career thus far. Alyssa’s favorite event to coach is Uneven Bars. Motto: “All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.”
About Alyssa
Andrea Majano
Gymnastics Department Leader
Andrea, also known as Coach Dre, loves kids and teaching. Always bringing a smile is her biggest contribution to the ABK environment. Andrea started at ABK as a student in various activities, has been coaching since 2013, and a gymnastics department leader since 2017. Andrea is also one of our preschool teachers and a Starguard certified lifeguard. Motto: "Ohana" means family. Family means one one gets left behind."
About Andrea
Wade Mann
Karate Instructor
Mr. Mann started martial arts later in life in 2010 and has been teaching for more than 7 years. Before martial arts he was an Oregon state champion BMX racer (1984), a U.S. Army Combat Veteran (1990), and has been a Network Administrator for over 20 years. Mr. Mann received his Associates Degree in Computer Science in 1997. In his spare time, he likes to play both computer and tabletop games.
About Wade
Emily Martin
Senior Swim Instructor, Certifications Instructor
Emily is primarily a senior swim instructor and lifeguard in the swim department. She will also “guest star” occasionally in preschool gymnastics, after school care, and customer service. In her spare time Emily loves swimming, snowboarding, anything Disney, and being outdoors. She has over ten years of swim experience as an athlete and/or coach. Emily is a certified lifeguard, CPR, and First Aid instructor trainer. She is also a former (OG) ABK kid and worked as a volunteer for 3 years prior to being hired. Emily has been apart of ABK as an employee since 2012 but has been involved in one way or another for nearly 16 years! Her life outside of ABK has been filled with pursuing an early education & psychology degree. Emily hopes to teach 3rd grade in the near future! Motto: "The things that make me different are the things that make me, me". - Piglet
About Emily
Megan McIntosh
Swim Instructor and Dance Teacher
Megan is a swim and dance teacher at ABK and a new mother of a baby boy. She is going to school to become a teacher and has experience working with kids from internships at Kidventure preschool, Jewett Elementary, and Walker Elementary. She has practiced ballet since she could walk and loves teaching everything she knows to her students. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain” Vivian Greene
About Megan
Russell O'Connor
Senior Vice President and Martial Arts Department Leader
About Russ: Russ was born and raised in southern Oregon and is a father of 3 boys. He is a 4th degree black belt, receiving his Master in 2010 right here at America’s Best Karate. Russ has been involved in martial arts since 1995 and holds a few rankings in the NBL/SKIL circuit. . In addition to his many years of studying Tae Kwon Do he has also trained in Karate, Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling and weapons. At the age of 14 he became an assistant instructor with Master Berryessa and found he had a passion for teaching. By the age of 16 Master O’Connor was teaching full time as a lead instructor working with students from 3 to 70 years of age. Master O’Connor has conducted hundreds of safety and leadership seminars in public and private elementary schools throughout the Rogue Valley as well as numerous Women’s Self Defense workshops. Motto: "What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." R.W. Emerson
About Russ
Jon Oppelt
Gymnastics Coach and Swim Instructor
Jon is a fun loving father, brother and son. He has a daughter and 8 nieces and nephews, so being a parental figure definitely comes naturally. Jon loves to be active, including snowboarding and skating and surfing. He sincerely enjoys coaching and everyone he works with. Jon played sports all through school and was a cheerleader his senior year at North Medford High School. That’s when he fell in love with flipping and all that comes with it. Motto: “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t... You’re right.”
About Jon
Randi Slayton
Gymnastics Coach
Randi has 3 daughters with 1 on the gymnastics team. She has worked at ABK for over 8 years and loves working with children. In addition to working at ABK she also works at an elementary school. Motto: “We believe that everyone's feelings count and that the uniqueness of each of us strengthens all of us.”
About Randi
Jordan Sparks
Enrichment Director
As the Enrichment Director at America's Best Kids, every day Jordan has the extraordinary privilege of working with amazing students! His strengths include the ability to work with a variety of age groups, and to create a fun, and safe environment for students and their families. Motto: "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun."
About Jordan
Pasha Timofeyev
Dance Instructor
Pasha was born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. At the age of 8, he was one of an elite group of students selected to train with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. In 2000, his family moved to the United States. Pasha continued his classical training with Pamela Hayes in Sacramento, CA. While under Pamela's tutelage, Pasha was featured in soloist roles throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in productions including The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Mary Poppins, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, A Chorus Line, and Cinderella. During this time, he also worked on modern technique with Jen Bradford. In the summer of 2011, Pasha was invited to dance at Project Launch, where he had the opportunity to work with Ben Levey, Sidra Bell, Tina Bohnstedt, Cosmin Marceletiu, Lee Wei Chao, and other modern choreographers. Pasha was most recently on stage with the Dancing People Company in Ashland, OR in 2015-16 under the modern direction of Robin Stiehm.
About Pasha
Jessica Watson
Enrichment Instructor and Swim Instructor
Jessie assists in ABK's After School Care and Day Camp programs in addition to teaching swimming.
About Jessica