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Our Staff

Nicole Podraza

Owner, Cheerleading Director, Hip Hop Dancer, Gymnastics Team Coach

Nicole Podraza

Nicole Podraza, an individual who believes in leadership, mentorship and guidance, owns Thunder Elite.  This role model to children and young adults has been coaching in the Bryan/College Station area since 1999, but has coached since 1995. As a gymnast, she competed for Bela Karolyi through level 9. Upon leaving gymnastics, she was a cheerleader for 7 years including being a member of the national championship team from Sam Houston State University in 1997. She has coached competitive cheerleading, competitive gymnastics, and competitive hip-hop. Her gymnasts and her cheer and hip-hop teams have achieved many awards, including national titles.  Along with her students, she and her staff have been awarded Coaching Staff of the Year by American CheerPower both in 2006,2007, and 2014!  These accolades hang from the walls of Thunder Elite not only for recognition, but also as a constant reminder that hard work, a CAN DO attitude, and the will to never give up does pay off.

Nicole LOVES kids and it reflects in everything she does for Thunder Elite.  The ultimate goal is to teach the day-to-day business to everyone in order to pay it forward and gain confidence in knowing that you can achieve your dream by fighting for what you believe in.

One of Nicole’s favorite quotes, “If you never have a bad day, how would you know when you had a good one?”

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Frankie Harris

Manager, Summer Camp Director

Frankie Harris

Frankie Harris has had gymnastics as a part of her life since she was a child.  Ultimately coaching would be her goal in this sport as she developed as a gymnast.  She enjoys teaching gymnastics because if the LOVE of the sport and wants her students to enjoy it s much as she did growing up.  Her outgoing spirit and friendly personality makes the class environment FUN.  Frankie enjoys building relationship with the students and their families.  It is important to keep everyone in the know in order to develop skills and gain confidence.  It is a TEAM effort and that is why Frankie’s favorite quote is,” There is no "I" in "TEAM!”

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Sarah Gilbert

Class Coach, Extra Activities

Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Gilbert LOVES the fun, easy going yet HARD WORK atmosphere Thunder Elite has to offer as well as enjoying the kids she teaches.  They are like FAMILY to her.  Sarah cheered in high school competitively and understands the hard work and commitment in recreation and competitive sports.  Sarah is optimistic, patient and caring and has made an outstanding addition to the Thunder Elite family.

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Jada Punch

Cheer Team Coach, Class Instructor

Jada Punch

Jada Punch is a HUGE fan of the Cheer Program at Thunder Elite and enjoys interacting with her students daily in order to assist them in achieving their goals.  From student to coach, Jada looks forward in developing her skill set as a coach and a mentor to her students.  She is passionate about cheerleading and dance and the love for both sports shines through in her actions.  With her amusing and entertaining personality, you will find Jada not only funny, but extremely respectful to others and always lending a helping hand.  Her number one priority is to assist her customers and be sure she is delivering 110% on her responsibility to her them and to Thunder Elite.  Her positive attitude is contagious and she wants to be sure everyone is having FUN while working hard. 

Jada's favorite quote, “Without struggle there is no progress.”

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Kayla Townsend

Cheer Team Coach, Class Instructor

Kayla Townsend

Kayla Townsend loves teaching and coaching because cheerleading and gymnastics have inspired her so much from the time she was young. Kayla’s loveable, huggable and passionate attitude makes for a fun and positive learning environment for everyone involved. She strives for improvement in routines and bright smiles from her students all while having FUN. Kayla wants her students and their parents to feel comfortable and confident that she is coaching their child well and setting them up for EXCELLENCE!

Kayla’s favorite quote, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

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Ashley Toups

Cheer Team Coach, Class instructor

Ashley Toups

Ashley Toups started at Thunder Elite when she was 2 years old.  During her stay, she grew to love cheerleading and observing the coaches at their best.  The coaching aspect of her time at the gym made her want to be a coach, something she is extremely passionate about.    Ashley has 15 years of experience in competitive cheerleading, 6 years in dance, and a few years in gymnastics.  She is obviously a well rounded individual full of talent.  With her hardworking attitude, she wants her students and their parents to feel like they are getting the best customer service experience.  Every opportunity that Ashley has, she wants to ensure that everyone is having a GREAT time.  FUN and POSITIVE atmosphere is what she promotes and she wants everyone to leave knowing they have learned something or improved a skill set.

Ashley's favorite quote, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

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Shania Newton

Assistant Cheer Team Coach

Shania Newton

Shania Newton is in her HAPPY PLACE and that happy place is Thunder Elite!  Her love of Thunder Elite and for coaching makes Shania a positive force to be around.  Her sense of being positive and proactive assist in the success of her students as well as herself.  She is most happy when she has a student achieve a goal that they have been working towards.  She respects her students and in return expects the same.  By being helpful and respectful, students accomplish more.  She wants to always be able to assist the student with any concerns as well as provide accurate information to parents in regards to their child.  Shania builds trust within her students as well as their parents so the parents always know their children are in good hands.

Shania's favorite quote, “Don’t cry because it is over, cry because it happened.”

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Courtney Maynard

Gymnastics Team Director, Class Instructor

Courtney Maynard

Courtney Maynard LOVES working with children. Her determined, caring and hardworking attitude are visible through everything she does and she believes hard work can really pay off. Courtney’s favorite part of coaching comes from the excitement she witnesses through her students when they learn something new! She thinks a good, happy environment to learn in is the key to success.

Courtney’s favorite quote, “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” Rabindranath Tagore

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Kayla Brock

Class Instructor

Kayla Brock

Kayla Brock LOVES coaching at the Thunder Elite…the gym that taught her so much while she was growing up.  She loves helping kids learn and do things they never thought they were capable of.  Kayla’s passion and determination for coaching is visible in everything she does and she puts 110% into each student she gets to work with.  Kayla thinks customer service and trust between a client and student is the most important thing, especially with gymnastics when you work so closely with each other.

Kayla’s favorite quote, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck

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Ashley Kollmann

Class Instructor

Ashley Kollmann

Ashley Kollmann, one of our twin coaches, has a passion for gymnastics, cheerleading and kids!  She grew up participating in both sports which allowed her to be around kids at all times.  As she has gotten older, it has not swayed her from wanting to coach kids and be around the two sports she loves the most.  With her sense of humor, her patience, and understanding of day to day interactions, all the kids at Thunder Elite enjoy Ashley and what she provides for Thunder Elite.  Customer service is the most important thing in a business and with this mindset, Ashley strives to provide outstanding service with a positive attitude in hopes every client will walk away knowing they have been treated well.

Ashley's favorite quote, “God is within her, she will not fail.” Psalm 46:5

 

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Leah Prillaman

Class Instructor

Leah Prillaman

Leah Prillaman had always heard wonderful things about Thunder Elite.  But what really stood out was how everyone associated Thunder Elite with the word FAMILY, a word that resonated with Leah and it was something she wanted to be a part of.  Leah brings 13 years of competitive gymnastics to Thunder Elite.  She coached rec and preschool and LOVED it because she embraces the lessons she learned from her coaches and remembers how they positively impacted her life and wants to do that for others.  Leah prides herself in being an Aggie and wraps her life around being a good christian.  Her outgoing personality encourages and motivates her students and when they are motivated that motivation turns into confidence.   You know Leah is in the gym when you hear her laugh, something that we find her doing often.  Customer Service is a must and Leah wants every customer to feel important and that they each have a voice.  Leah's exact words,”I want these kids to feel like ROCK STARS!” She wants these kids to drean big and then put in the necessary hard work to achieve their goals.  And they will becaise SHE BELIEVES IN THEM!

Leah's favorite quotes:

“Whatever you do, do it well.” Walt Disney

“If everything was perfect, you would never learn and you would never grow.” Beyonce Knowles

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Riley Winslow

Class Instructor

Riley Winslow

Riley Winslow LOVES Thunder Elite and the values that the business stands for.  Her love of cheerleading and dance along with her love of children makes her a perfect fit at Thunder Elite.  Riley stays extremely active making she she is always putting her best foot forward with a positive attitude and a great work ethic. 

Riley's favorite quote, “Hard work pays off.”

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Aly Baker

Class Instructor

Aly Baker

Aly Baker loves teaching gymnastics due to it being her passion since she was a young child.  She surrounds herself around individuals who have the same passion and that combination turns into a WIN WIN for Thunder Elite.  Aly brings a great deal of experience to our staff with five years of dance, ten years of gymnastics, and four years of cheerleading, along with coaching at carious levels, her presence makes people want to be better! Aly is passionate ad hardworking and that reflects in everything she does at the gym.  Customer servive is a must and she aims to please by providing open communication, a great work ethic, and a desire to teach others to be their best.

Aly's favorite quote,”Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”

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Laynie Stewart

Class Instructor

Laynie Stewart

Laynie Stewart joins the team at Thunder Elite due to her passion for cheerleading and dance and wanting to take the experiences she gained on the Thunder Elite competitive teams and incorporate that into impactful coaching and class instruction.  Laynie has been cheering since she could walk and dancing since she was four.  With her coaching experience from a previous gym makes her a great fit at Thunder Elite.  She loves coaching kids and it shows with her funny and outgoing personality.

Laynie's favorite quote,”If you think you can, you can!”

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Jonathan Tillinghast

Class Instructor

Jonathan Tillinghast

Jonathan Tillinghast joined the Thunder Elite staff due to the positive and hard working environment, one that promotes teamwork and the “I can” attitude.  Jonathan's experiences as a gymnast assist him in coaching gymnastics and his style of instruction brings a positive impact on others.  He is driven and considers himself outgoing with a “lit” personality.

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Laina Henry

Class Instructor

Laina Henry

Laina Henry LOVES working with children and loves being a part of the Thunder Elite staff. Her hardworking attitude are visible through everything she does and as an Education Major … teaching is right up her alley.  Her love for coaching and cheerleading brings her back to the Thunder Elite family.  Welcome back Laina!

Laina's favorite quote, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.”

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