Nastics Staff


Gary Valentine

GaryGary and his wife Debbie started Nastics 37 years ago, he is a Graduate of Univ. of Mass.-Amherst and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Education K-12 Minor in Early Childhood Development and Playground Design and construction. FormerLi Retrouvaille coordinator.

He has coached every aspect of gymnastics from the Leap Frog program he developed, to special needs classes, cheerleading, team and adult classes and has produced many state and Regional champions. His attention to the needs of the children as well as his ability to detect and correct problems with gymnastics performance combined with his knowledge of the sport and his amazing demeanor with children make him the heart and soul of Nastics.

Gary is also an accomplished carpenter and woodworker, the Long Island Coordinator for Retrouvaille Ministry along with wife, Debbie and is heavily involved with many theater projects with regard to set design, construction and lighting. He is also a Playground Designer/Builder and Consultant for various private and public schools including Tiny Tots Learning Center


Wayne Thoden

I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics for more than 40 years. As a competitive gymnast, I found the sport to be one that I love and the most challenging sport there is. As a coach, I find this sport to be the most rewarding. We are able to influence the children we coach in a positive way. To be able to guide, mold and challenge children to bring out the best in themselves and build character is amazing. To watch them grow and help them achieve their goals, to share in their triumphs and sorrows is the best reward for me.

I am happy to be back at Nastics after spending nearly six years coaching in Maui. Nastics is the finest gymnastics club I have had the pleasure to work at and I look forward to working with all the children. I have coached Junior High, and High School Gymnastics teams, as well as Junior High, High School, and College Cheerleaders, all team levels, one through ten and am I am USAG Pro member, Safety and Risk Management Certified, and a USA Gymnastics National Coach I am also CPR/AED and first aid certifications.

When not coaching I am also a photographer and have shot for USA Gymnastics and International Gymnast magazines. I like to write fantasy and horror, I am a published poet and love to create art. I have a Bachelors of Science degree in web design, I am a stand-up comic performing for over 25 years and won $10,000.00 on Americas Funniest People.

Christine Stanca

ChristineI began at Nastics as a student when I was 5 years old and attended classes until I began working as a teacher at Nastics when I was a senior in high school in 2007. At the time, I did not realize how rewarding coaching was going to be. The best part is watching each child learn and develop in their gymnastics career, and knowing you’ve helped teach each child is a reward within itself. It’s funny how some of the Nastics staff was at one time my coaches. I now teach all recreational classes, pre-school classes, birthday parties, and open gyms & camps. In addition, I am the birthday party coordinator and a secretary in the office.

Besides growing up as a student at Nastics, my gymnastics background includes competition on the Connetquot Junior Varsity team for 2 years and the Varsity team for 4. I loved being part of a team and enjoyed the “family” you become, just like the “family” we have at Nastics.

I received my bachelor’s in January 2013 from St. Joseph’s college with a degree in child study. I am a certified teacher from Birth-2nd grade and grades 1-6 in general education and special education. I am currently working towards my Master’s degree in literacy and substituting at local districts. From my experiences in the classroom, I am able to relate many skills and strategies as a gymnastics coach to the classroom as a teacher.

I am USAG member, Safety and Risk Management Certified, and a certificate in Fundamentals of Gymnastics. In addition, I am CPR/AED and first aid certified. I also have certificates in courses on Child Abuse and Prevention of School Violence.

I truly enjoy working at Nastics and could not ask for a better “family” to work alongside.


Jan Filoso Gymnastics + Dance = Passion.
I have been a gymnast and dancer since I was sturdy on my own two feet. I was competitive in club gymnastics, through USGF (now known as USAG) until about 3rd/4th grade. At that point, I stopped my club gymnastics career at Level 7. I continued dancing all along – tap, jazz and ballet. However, my passion for gymnastics never dimmed, and I was thrilled to compete for my school starting in 7th grade. Competing for Connetquot High School under the coaching of Mr. Sheibler and Mrs. Lassen created lasting memories and influence. So much of my coaching philosophy was instilled during these years. Earning the team League Champion title two years in a row, MVP, Team Captain and All-Around County Champion are still some of my proudest accomplishments.
I continued on to earn my Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Dance at Springfield College. I had the honor of participating in the Springfield College HomeShow – a gymnastics exhibition show that has been performing for over 100 years. It was during my college years that I discovered yet another passion – coaching. Coaching, educating and inspiring my athletes is just as rewarding as being a gymnast myself. I found that having been a decent gymnast, yet always having to work hard for it, made me an even better coach. I have the ability to breakdown a skill, explain it in a way that every child will understand, and provide drills and exercises that will help them to achieve success.

Most recently, my career has expanded to incorporate the entire wellness spectrum for children and adults as well. As a result of my own diagnosis with Ulcerative Colitis, I have founded Moving Bodies, Changing Minds, a state of wellness and healing that integrates the mind, body and spirit to achieve optimum wellness. I inspire individuals and groups to upgrade their lifestyle habits and guide them through the process using a variety of modalities that include (but are not limited to) Holistic Health Coaching, Fitness Training, Thai Yoga Therapy and Reiki. I work with individuals living with digestive diseases or disorders, those needing stress management, and those looking to increase their overall wellness.

I am currently certified in First Aid & CPR/AED (American Heart Association), Safety and Risk Management (USAG), Personal/Group Fitness (AAAI-ISMA & Equinox Fitness), Pre/Post Natal Fitness Training (Annette Lang), intenSati (SatiLife), Holistic Health Coaching (Institute for Integrative Nutrition), Thai Yoga Therapy (Thai Yoga Center), and Reiki (Usui Shiki Ryoho Tradition).

Continuing to have gymnastics and dance in my life provides balance and continued inspiration to stay on my path toward optimum wellness. There is nothing more rewarding than to be able to inspire my athletes not just IN the gym, but in their outside life as well. Teaching my gymnasts about nutrition and stress management will give them skills that will last a lifetime and allow them to be their absolute best for years to come. I am honored to be a part of the Nastics family, and look forward to bringing a higher state of health and wellness to us all!


Paul Fusco
I have been involved in the sport of gymnastics for more than 20 years. As a competitive gymnast, I competed as a High School, Private Club, and Colligate gymnast.  I was a dual sport athlete throughout High School as well as my freshman year at Springfield College. I was a 6 Time High School All-American, 3 Time Collegiate Academic All-American, as well as Newsday Athlete of the week twice (once for both baseball and gymnastics) and was once interviewed by Newsday about how to avoid “burning out” as a High School Athlete.

Since becoming a coach in 2005, I have found that shaping and teaching young children is one of the most rewarding professions a person can be in.  I view coaching not only as the physical shaping of an athlete’s body, but also the mind through character building, positive thinking and overcoming obstacles.  Gymnastics is a sport that can challenge a person both physically and mentally. This is what makes it so unique, and as a coach it is my responsibility to provide lessons that my students can use both in the gym and throughout life.

Gymnastics holds a special place in my life and has taught me valuable lessons that have helped me become the person I am today. Through the implementation of these lessons I have graduated from Springfield College with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, graduated from Touro Law School in May, 2012 with a J.D. and have been admitted to practice law by the New York State Bar Association.

I am a USA Gymnastics Professional member with certifications in Safety and Risk Management, U100 and CPR/First Aid certified through the Red Cross.

As one of the most influential people in my life would say; “Don’t Quit… Reset, Reload, Refocus.” 


Nina Salamone

Gymnastics has been part of my life for as long as I can remember I started gymnastics at the age of 3 in the Nastics Leapfrog program and continued on through high school. Nastics is like my second family and gymnastics has always been a constant in my life. I think gymnastics is the hardest and yet most beautiful sport in the world. It teaches discipline, concentration, self-confidence, independence, patience, perseverance, and teamwork, working towards a goal, and to always challenge yourself and face your fears.  I love helping children learn new skills and achieve their gymnastics goals.


Anna Salamone

Anna has been a gymnast at Nastics all of her life. She garnered too many titles, medals and honors to mention them all. She is the 2015 level 10 New York State all-around and Beam champion and has represented New York and Region 6 at the Junior Olympic National Championships in 2014 in Jackson Mississippi and again in 2015 in Des Moines Iowa. As a senior she will see her last National championships this year in Texas before moving on to college.Anna will be attending the Air Force Academy on a full academic and athletic scholarship. Anna is a mentor to her younger teammates, and a fantastic coach who loves to help children achieve their goals.





Valerie Mitchell

I truly enjoy observing and discovering the endless prospects of children’s abilities.  As a gymnast from the early age of six, I attended many private clubs, Diamond Gymnastics, Parkettes Training Center, Montclair YMCA Gymnastics, and Woodward Gymnastics Camp to pursue my gymnastics goals.  I began competing at 8 years old and gained regional and national YMCA titles on vault, bars, beam and floor.  After realizing my indefinite love and dedication for the sport I challenged my abilities and started competing for USA Gymnastics from levels 7-9 where I achieved regional and national recognition on vault and bars.  During my collegiate years, I started coaching in Atlanta for the Norcross YMCA, and it was there that I began developing my particular coaching style.  In addition to coaching I also obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry from Spelman College. 

I am adamant about making gymnastics enjoyable for all and breaking down the more difficult skills into progressions that help gymnasts build confidence, consistency, and comfort within their training.  One of my favorite aspects of the sport is how each gymnast develops their own niche or style and performs their skills and routines in that unique fashion. I understand the depth of the sport and the hard work gymnasts must put in to achieve their goals, so I encourage the need to maintain a positive attitude and be supportive as a teammate.  You will find me coaching with one of the biggest smiles to remind the gymnasts of the need to enjoy the sport above all. 


Sharon Ryba Pertz

For as long as I can remember, I have been bouncing around, doing handstands in random places, and swinging from anything that resembled bars…including towel rods, which my parents didn’t care for, at all. I started dance and acrobatics classes nearly 40 years ago which segued into trying gymnastics, which seemed to stick (no pun intended). Through college, my love of gymnastics lured me back and over the years I have participated in adult classes, have been coaching since 1992, and judged compulsory gymnastics in Hawaii for a few years. 

Aside from gymnastics, my other hats are varied. I was a television documentary editor for 15 years, have been a graphics artist and graphics instructor for 20 years, and my most recent hat: mom. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, practicing yoga, and soaking up the sun by the water.


Tammy Moynihan