Founder and Executive Director – Discover Fitness Foundation
Carly Markesich earned her B.A. in International Studies at the University of St. Thomas and is a graduate of Rice University’s Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives. Carly has been working in the gymnastics industry since 1979, as a coach and administrator. She is a USAG Pro Member, holds a USAG Meet Director’s Certification, and currently serves on the Texas State Administrative Committee for USAG. Over the years, Carly and Discover have received numerous awards including the Gymnastics Association of Texas’ Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the development of gymnastics and gymnastics programs in Texas, and Discover was named one of Fortune’s Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Discover is now preparing for a second facility and program expansion. Carly is the CEO of Discover Gymnastics, Houston’s premier gymnastics facility, serving over 2000 students each week, ages 6 months – 18 years, including all levels of gymnastics, both competitive and non-competitive, in a 22,000sf state-of-the-art facility. Discover also offers ancillary activities including birthday parties, a retail pro shop, and hosts three USAG sanctioned gymnastics competitions each year. Carly attributes Discover’s success to her approach to employee training and professional development. Carly’s hobbies include traveling, reading and she is an activist championing the rights of children, women, and the environment.
Tiny Twister Head Coach
As many of you know, Coach Francisco started with Discover Gymnastics since practically the beginning almost 21 years ago. Our owner Carly was searching for a great coach to work with the boys gymnastics program, and chance stepped in when Francisco happened to be doing an adult gymnastics class at the gym. Coach Francisco gave coaching a try the next day after Carly asked him to help out, and he immediately loved teaching children about gymnastics and everything at Discover.
This newfound coaching passion of Francisco's became life changing when he decided to quit his full-time job to become a gymnastics coach. Over the years, Coach Francisco has been in charge of almost all the programs the gym offers, such as the Boys Team head coach, Recreational Boys and Girls Gymnastics, Preschool Gymnastics Director, Birthday Party manager and Special Need Classes instructor. Currently Coach Francisco is the Marketing Director for the gym, oversees our Preschool and Camp Directors, organizes Discover Kids Nights and coaches some of our pre-team advanced girls gymnastics classes. Coach Francisco is very proud to be part of Discover Gymnastics and enjoys getting to know so many of our families and customers. Coach Francisco really loves coaching the 4-7 year olds in the Tiny Twisters and Super Twisters pre-team classes, as well as our Preschool gymnastics classes, because he believes that at that young age children can learn so much, very quickly. Coach Francisco has enjoyed seeing the strong foundation of Discover Gymnastics continue to grow and be a consistent presence in the community.
Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Coach Francisco came to the United States to study ESL at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. In his spare time, he enjoys running in Memorial Park and traveling whenever he can. Coach Francisco loves the sport of gymnastics and is grateful for the many opportunities he has had to meet Olympic gymnastics medalists, attend multiple national and international gymnastics events, as well as travel to watch the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Coach Francisco is thankful to have a job where he feels fulfilled in his goals and has the opportunity to see children grow and learn every day. Being part of Discover Gymnastics is definitely Coach Francisco's favorite job over the years.
Kristen joined Discover Gymnastics in 2013, bringing years of competitive rhythmic gymnastics, professional contemporary dance and choreographic experience with her. Growing up, Kristen studied classical ballet and performed with City Ballet of Houston Company while doing competitive Rhythmic Gymnastics. In 2000, Kristen won the title of U.S. Level 9 National Champion and enjoyed several years of both individual and group competition with her team. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Kristen performed nationally and internationally with several professional dance companies located in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston. Kristen loves experiencing the world and different cultures, so her time in Greece, Ecuador and Austria remain some of her favorite places to have performed in. When the occasion arises locally, Kristen loves to teach master classes in contemporary dance and create choreography for Rice University or Sam Houston State University's dance programs. Kristen loves helping grow students' understanding of what they're capable of, and being able to inspire students to think positively about themselves to continue to achieve. Kristen also dances with an aerial company that tours to do performances off the sides of high rise buildings. Dancing locally with Houston Grand Opera is a joy for Kristen because it is right in the heart of the city, and is so artistically fueling to work alongside so many talented artists and guest musicians. Outside of work, Kristen enjoys going to tons of concerts, catching Astros games, traveling to new places, being active, pilates, sports psychology, enjoying sunny patios, catching up with her twin sister, big family events, time with friends and going to tons of live music concerts.
Amanda joined Discover Gymnastics in 2017. Amanda graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Kinesiology/Sports Administration and minored in dance. Amanda was a gymnast for 14 years and a dancer for 18. Amanda has twenty years of coaching experience, eleven of those years as a Head Coach and Team Director of a local gym. Amanda has done choreography for gymnasts, senior school musicals as well as choreographed Shannon Millers Floor Wars TV special floor routine in 2001. Amanda joined Discover Gymnastics to assist with the communication and administrative side of our team programs. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family. What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics: I love that we can offer classes to everyone! From the basic gymnastics classes through the elite levels and the many different avenues in between.
Edison joined Discover Gymnastics in 2017 after relocating to Houston from New Jersey, bringing over 10 years of coaching experience with him. Edison began gymnastics at the age of 12 in Cúcuta, Colombia Edison’s strongest events were Pommel Horse, High Bar, and Parallel Bars. Some of Edison’s proudest achievements include a National All-Around Champion title in 2005, 3rd Place finish on Pommel Horse at the Pan-American Championships in 2002, and a 2nd place team title at Bolivarianos Games in 2005. In 2007, Edison was invited to start his coaching career in New Jersey to form a strong boys gymnastics program that cultivated dedicated boys who quickly began earning State and Regional Championship medals. It is Edison’s goal to see each gymnast reach their highest potential and he hopes to have all of our Boys Team on the podium this season. Edison knows the hard work it takes and the pride felt when your team succeeds .In his free time, Edison enjoys reading and watching movies.
XCEL Team Coach
Jessica joined Discover Gymnastics in 2019 bringing years of gymnastics coaching experience. Previously, Jessica was a gymnast and dancer for 23 years as well as a retired Pro NBA/IBL Cheerleader, Retired ESP Production Staff 6 years, Miss America 2.0 Judge, Deca Member/contest Judge, and retired National Halftime Performer. She received her associates degree in Business as well as her Bachelors degree in Business.
In her free time, Jessica enjoys relaxing and spending time with friends. Her favorite movie is Harry Potter and favorite color is pink.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics: Everything. It is a great place to work!
We are happy to introduce you to Coach Faith as our new Camp Manager! Coach Faith's great energy, several years of competitive gymnastics and cheer, as well as years of dance background, has her ready to get all the campers active this Summer. She has coached in our Camp program for the past two years, and is now ready to lead us into a great Summer with her inspirational and fun ideas!
Coach Faith is currently attending school at the University of Texas at Arlington as a nursing major in hopes of becoming a neonatal nurse or a travel nurse one day. She is also excited to be cheering at college. With so many years in competitive cheer, Faith is proud to have lead her squad as captain at Pearland High School. During her time as captain there, the cheer squad placed top 3 in Texas and top 10 in the nation. Faith earned 3x All-American cheerleader status and was selected to attend a leadership program for USASF (U.S. All Star Federation) for cheer.
We are excited to see Coach Faith step into managing Camp with her background in leading many cheer camps and clinics for the BAFL, TIFY Youth Football leagues, and cheer fundamentals program at a cheer gym in the Houston area. Students, campers, and staff enjoy getting to learn from such a positive and fun coach like Faith!
Fabian joined Discover Gymnastics in 2018 bringing 20 years of competitive gymnastics experience and over 10 years of coaching experience. Fabian began his gymnastics training at the age of six in Cúcuta, Colombia and worked hard to have an impressive personal gymnastics career. As a proud member of the National Colombian Team for 18 years, Fabian’s strongest events were Pommel Horse, High Bar, and Parallel Bars. Some of Fabian’s proudest achievements include 3 South American Games placing 1st place on High Bar and Pommel Horse and 1st place Team, 3 Bolivian Games placing 1st place on Pommel Horse and 1st place Team, 6 Elite South American Championships placing 1st place on High Bar and Pommel Horse and 5 Elite Pan American Championships placing 3rd on Pommel Horse. In his free time, Fabian enjoys exercising, investing, trading and editing video games. He also loves spending time with his wife Leah and two beautiful children Cateleya and Dominic.
Carlos joined Discover Gymnastics in 2020 and is originally from Cucuta, Colombia. In 2010, Carlos became a part of the Colombian National Team and competed for the first time at the International Arena in the South American Championships in Peru. Carlos has achieved significant personal accomplishments throughout his gymnastics career. A few of Carlos’s proudest accomplishments are being ranked #28 at World Gymnastics Championships, 2nd place at Central American Games, and 1st place at the 2017 Bolivarian Games. When he isn’t currently competing or training, Carlos assists Discover Gymnastics as a coach with our Boys Team Program. In his spare time, Carlos enjoys movies, tennis and is a x-box gamer.
We are happy to introduce you to Coach Katie as our new Preschool and Discovery Manager! Coach Katie brings with her four years of coaching experience, as well as years of cheerleading and gymnastics experience in her hometown of St. Louis. She joined Discover Gymnastics in August of 2020 and quickly discovered her love of coaching in the Preschool and Discovery Program, and the importance a coach can be in the formative years of her students.
Coach Katie grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and from the age of 8 to 18, she competed in cheerleading and gymnastics. At the age of 15, Katie started coaching for the gym where she trained. After high school, Katie attended the University of Mississippi (Hotty Toddy!) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2019 and moved to Houston later that same year. Coach Katie has also earned her certification as a Coach for Special Olympics of Texas.
Haifa joined Discover Gymnastics in 2009 bringing many years of gymnastics experience. Haifa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Baghdad University.
Haifa was a gymnast in Iraq for four years and a talented dancer. After her personal athletic experience, Haifa began her coaching career at 18 in Baghdad. She also taught fitness, aerobics and dance classes. She then taught gymnastics in Jordan and was the National Team Assistant Coach for 3 years and the Head Coach for 1 year. Haifa was also a member of the Olympic Committee in Iraq for more than a decade. Haifa then relocated to the United States where she began coaching at Discover Gymnastics. With her keen sense of rhythm, Haifa is also an exceptional choreographer.
Originally from the Houston area, Juan currently has over 9 years of coaching experience, joining Discover Gymnastics in 2011. Juan graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts from UH. Juan started his professional dancing career with various companies at the age of 15. Currently, he performs as an acrobat in Houston’s Cirque La Vie. Juan has experience with a wide range of training methods over the span of his acrobatic and gravity-defying career that gave him his unique perspective on gymnastics skills. He has also coached TNT and acrobatic gymnastics in the past as well as taught dance in HISD. In his free time, Juan devotes time to music, photography, and art performance..
Tori has been coaching gymnastics since she was 13. Originally from Frisco, Tori is currently attending Texas Southern University and majoring in Public Affairs with a minor in communication. Her favorite color is red, enjoys the movie shrek, and loves shopping in her free time.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics?
How large the program is and the increasing enrollments.
Plamen joined Discover Gymnastics in 2018 bringing 32 years of coaching experience. Plamen graduated with a Masters degree in Artistic Gymnastics and a Bachelor Degree in PE. Growing up, he qualified for both the Jr. and Sr. National Men’s Artistic Team in Bulgaria, he competed in 4 World Championships and was a 2 times European Champion. Plamen qualified for the 1984 Olympics Games, however the Bulgarian team was not able to participate. Plamen is married to Bulgarian Gymnast, Diana Doudeva, who has competed in 2 Olympic Games and have two kids. In his spare time, Plamen enjoys woodworking.
Marissa was born in Pasadena, Texas, and grew up in Mexico as a young girl involved in many activities including ballet, competitive swimming, taekwondo, and gymnastics. At the age of eight, Marissa moved to Houston where she continued in gymnastics. Eleven years of gymnastics training later, Marissa concluded her competitive gymnastics career as a Level 9 gymnast. She then joined her high school drill team for all 4 years, and earned the highest-ranking position of Colonel of the team for her junior and senior year. During this time, Marissa also became a two-time All-State Dance Team Member where she had the opportunity to partake in dance workshops, master classes, leadership training, and networking with other students across Texas. Marissa attended McLennan college in Waco, Texas where she was offered a full ride athletic scholarship. Marissa furthered her drill team commitment as part of the McLennan Dance Team where she became a two-time Academic Champion, All American dancer, American Dance Team Schools National Champion and a National Dance Alliance Champion. Coach Marissa has over 10 years of coaching experience with all ages, and loves the opportunity to help athletes discover what motivates them as individuals. Coach Marissa enjoys helping teach each gymnast to reach every single one of their goals, and we are happy to have her focusing her talent with our younger Compulsory Team Girls in the competitive Women's Developmental program. Coach Marissa has made many great memories over the years here with Discover, and considers this one of her happy places. In her spare time, Marissa loves dancing, traveling and spending time with her family.
Brianna started gymnastics when she was 2 and did competitive gymnastics throughout high school. She is originally from New Jersey and moved to Houston to work in Environmental Science. She was a cheerleader for Tulane University, loves the color orange and the movie Heavy Weights. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, hiking and spending time outdoors.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics:
The positive environment in which kids can learn gymnastics in a fun and exciting way.
Erik joined Discover Gymnastics in 2015. When he began at Discover Gymnastics he worked Parents Night Out events, Birthday Parties, and Camp. Since then, Erik has worked his way up to Assistant Camp Manager in 2017 and 2018 took over as the Camp Manager. On top of running all of our camps, Erik now also assists with Preschool Gymnastics Classes and the Boys Competitive Team program. Erik was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He started swimming at age 3 and joined a team at age 4. He was a competitive swimmer for 12 years. In his spare time, Erik enjoys exercising and trying new foods. His favorite color is gray and his favorite movie is the Princess Diaries.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics: Teaching the kids new skills and watching them perform them.
Front Desk Staff
Born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, Thadey grew up doing gymnastics and dance throughout high school. Competing all the way to USAG Level 8, Thadey was a very competitive gymnast and enjoyed traveling to meets. After high school, Thadey went on to dance and continue learning at Stephen F. Austin State University. We are happy to have Coach Thadey's bubbly energy helping customers at the Front Desk and also teaching so many of our students in our Day Camps. In her spare time away from work, Thadey likes reading, hiking in the fresh outdoors, and working out. Coach Thadey feels good being able to teach others what she has learned, and she loves being part of that culture here at Discover Gymnastics.
Amber was a cheerleader growing up and has been coaching gymnastics for 3 years. She is currently taking classes at HCC and majoring in radiology. She loves to travel and has been to over 22 states. She has 3 sisters, one brother, and a dog.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics:
I love the atmosphere. Everyone is so kind, happy and energetic. You can feel the strong potential in everyone.
Emily has been working with children for about 5 years. She recently graduated from UH and is pursuing further education. Her favorite color is mint green and enjoys riding her bike.
What do you love most about Discover Gymnastics?
How excited every kid is coming into the gym!
Birthday Party Staff