Bliss Academy of Dance & Cheer | Our Staff
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Our Staff

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Cassi Cook

Owner/Directress

Cassi Cook is the owner and Directress of BLISS Academy of Dance. She set off in 2004, at the age of 20 with the passion and drive to begin BLISS Academy of Dance. She was the lone instructor with 20 students.

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Since then, her program has excelled in multiple ways. The diversity of dance styles has increased to instruct in ballet, jazz, hip hop (including popping & break dance) contemporary, tumbling and cheer. BLISS offers these dance styles on multiple levels. The team of instructors that she has created embodies the purest love of dance and teaching. The sheer number of students and impressively, returning students has exploded to over 250 since 2004. BLISS is uniquely advertised by referrals alone. Those who attend BLISS want to share their amazing experience with friends and family.

Throughout Cassiʼs childhood and adolescence she trained in dance stylings including: jazz, tap, clogging, modern/contemporary, cheerleading, song leading, tumbling, character, ballet and hip hop. During her career at Jordan High School she was captain of the varsity cheerleading team, as well as song leader and choreographer. She was also a member and choreographer for the Dance Company. While at Jordan, Cassi was the dance choreographer for the musical “The Wizard of Oz”, and continued to perform as an official Olympic cheerleader. After high school she joined a hip hop company In St George, then moved home less that a year later, once becoming a Harley Davidson Blaze dancer, for the AFL.

Cassiʼs love for dance can only be surpassed by her desire to teach dance & cheer.  She finds more joy in teaching than performing herself.   In addition to running Bliss, and dancing for the Utah Blaze, from 2005-2007 she was also the head cheer coach for Jordan High School.  In 2007 she met and married the man of her dreams, and decided to cut back, keeping only her studio as her dance/cheer outlet.  In 2008, she was approached to co-choreograph for a traveling Cher impersonator Super Show. Returning to the dance scene herself in 2009, she was chosen as a member of the dance team for the ABA basketball team, the Utah Saints.  Since then she has chose to focus on running a successful and inviting dance/cheer program.  However, she has continued her choreography and guest instruction all over the state with multiple high school teams and soloist across the state.

No one loves Disneyland, bread (preferably home made) or doodling more that Cassi!  She often changes her hair color, and loves to play around with different hairstyles.  Fall is her favorite season & Halloween her favorite holiday.  She loves surrounding herself with good friends and family, and she is lucky to have such close friends and family as staff or members of Bliss today!

In 2011 she welcomed her first future dancing all star into her family, and a second dancing baby to her family in 2014.

Cassi is an example of the complete dance experience.  Her training in various styles has given her well rounded expertise and she continues her training even now, always striving to be the most knowledgeable and progressive coach possible.  Through dance & cheer she has been able to make life long friends, build self esteem, character, learn teamwork, leadership, as well as sportsmanship and perseverance.  This is exactly what Cassi wants her dancers & cheerleaders to develop through her program, BLISS Academy of Dance.

SHAKE THE SOUL, WAKE THE DANCE, FEEL THE BLISS

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Jenni Nielsen

Dance Instructor

Jenni’s love for dance started at 2 1/2 years old while training in classical ballet.  Ballet gave Jenni the opportunity to learn proper technique needed for all other forms of dance.  Now she enjoys teaching and dancing every style. As a young girl, her dream was to dance for the Radio City Hall’s Rockette’s in New York City—unfortunately Jenni never grew tall enough to try out.

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Many wonderful opportunities came Jenni’s way all before she was 18:  dancing with Ballet West in Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker numerous years; performing at Carnegie Hall in NYC; performances during halftime entertainment at Utah Jazz basketball; performances at Disneyland, Disneyworld and Sea World; appearances in local TV commercials and Disney Channel original movies; president of her junior high dance team, and Head Drill Mistress of Skyline High’s drill team for two years.

Jenni then attended the University of Utah where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Consumer and Community Studies and her minor in business.  While attending school full time, Jenni was a proud member of the Crimson Line dance team for three years.  She held the offices of President and Vice President and was able to participate and perform in many amazing events: every home and many away football games and men’s/women’s basketball games, the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington DC, the 2009 BCS Sugar Bowl in Louisiana, ESPN TV appearances, opening ceremonies for the Paralympics, NCAA March Madness games, and worked with Tony Award winning (and other well-known) choreographer’s.

Lastly, Jenni has choreographed many first place routines for drill teams around the state, was assistant drill coach at Juan Diego for two years, judged tryouts for many local teams and companies, and taught classes and camps for other schools around the state.

Jenni is married and has two beautiful kids.  She currently dances on a local company called Nightline, where they perform at different events, venues and conventions around Utah.  Jenni is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Bliss family.  She loves the kids dearly and enjoys teaching them.

Julie Rasmussen Nygard

Dance Instructor

Julie Rasmussen Nygard is one of the most experienced, versatile, thorough instructors in the dance world. Growing up, she had 16 years of dance training in jazz, hip hop, lyrical, ballet, & tap, dancing on the more advanced competitive teams attending classes up to 25 hours per week.

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She was also on her high school dance company and drill team, as an artistic director at the age of 15. At age 16, she was a featured dancer in an episode of “Touched by an Angel” tv series. She was also one of few teen dancers to make the cut as a zombie dancer for the critically acclaimed Halloween show “Thriller” with odyssey dance theatre. After graduating high school, she moved to Las Vegas where she graduated from UNLV at the age of 21, with a bachelor’s degree in communications, cum laude. During that time, Julie also kept her focus centered around dance as a member of the UNLV advanced jazz training program, as a dancer in UNLV dance dept. concerts. While in Las Vegas, she was also a dancer for the IBL Stars basketball dance team, a choreographer & dancer for Frankie Muñoz, and a showbiz convention assistant for choreographer Sara Sherger. Additionally, she was selected as a dancer & magician’s assistant, traveling to Philadelphia PA, and Edinburgh Scotland. Before returning home to SLC she spent 9 months on Royal Caribbean cruise lines (Europe) dancing in 3 major production shows, performing jazz, broadway and ballroom and was the lead actress in the murder mystery dinner production on the ship. Upon returning to SLC in 2010, Julie began teaching at Bliss Academy and guest teaching all over the state and into Arizona as well. She has continued her personal dance career with various dance jobs, including music videos and short film montages. Her talent has put her in both news articles and featured spots on local news stations. She continues to book dance gigs in Las Vegas and was a main dancer for Lagoon amusement park in 2014. Besides dancing, Julie also models (runway and photo), she is a certified AFAA aerobics instructor, a Zumba and ZIN member, trained instructor for Yogafit and Balletone (ballet fitness) as well as Silver Sneakers. Julie has a supportive husband and two beautiful children who encourage her to keep dancing and instructing all she can.

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Hollie Wilson

Tumbling Instructor

Hollie Wilson is truly an alumni of all things dance and tumbling.  She was a gymnastics state Champion from 1972-75 (class 1) then went Elite in 1975.  Hollie also received a full ride gymnastic scholarship to Ohio State in 1977, where she majored in Dance – thats right, dance!

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Before her gymnastics career, her training experience included 15 years of tap, ballet, and jazz as well as acrobatics with Roland Butler.  Also dancing 10 years in Ballet West’s Nutcracker and Ballet West Corps.  In 1982 Hollie and her husband opened Rocky Mtn. Gymnastics which they owned and operated for for 20 successful years. During that time, she coached both gymnastics and dance for all levels and ages and traveled with her competition teams all over the USA.  Hollie didnt stop there, as she was then asked to coach the New Zealand gymnastics team where she choreographed their winning national dance and elite routines.  Hollie is also the mother of two of our amazing Bliss coaches (Arielle and Miranda) and her expertise has clearly been handed down to her girls.   We are so pleased to have Hollie with us at Bliss, even after a fluke tumbling foot injury involving extensive surgery (because you know she still loves to tumble)!  You will not find a more experienced coach than Hollie Wilson!

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Arielle Lee

Tumbling Instructor

Born to the gymnastics coaching legend Mark Lee, Ariel has acrobatics pumping through her veins. Her sister, and fellow BLISS coach Miranda, taught her how to complete a back handspring by age two. By age four, she was competing across the state.

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Her first competition included a pass including five back handsprings. At the age of five Ariel’s hardware collecting began. As a competitive gymnast she has dozens of gold medals in vault, bars, beam, floor, and all around including the state championship. Ariel coupled her passion for gymnastics and dance by competing on the Lehi cheerleading squad. Presently, she is following in her dad’s footsteps, Ariel is sharing her talent and love of tumbling by coaching at BLISS. She finds enormous satisfaction in helping to build self esteem and confidence within her students. Her deep rooted gymnastic heritage and experience vaults her students to an electrifying level.

 

 

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Lacie Trout

Tumbling Instructor

Lacie Trout comes from a family of gymnasts, as both her brothers and her sister grew up with same drive for excellence in advanced gymnastics – that Lacie showcased throughout her life. The love for tumbling was first blossomed by the gymnastics career of her own mother.

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With her mom growing up as a competitive gymnast, and then opening a dance and tumbling studio in her home, naturally that love was also planted in Lacie. By the age of 10, she was a level 8 competitive gymnast. She then turned her tumbling passion to the cheer world, and was recruited for a all star cheer team that holds World Cheer Competition Titles. She was also a cheerleader at Jordan High for 3 years, a varsity member for 2 of those years & also apart of a nationally awarded 4 girl stunt group.

After High school, Lacie continued her passion for cheer and tumbling, as a college cheerleader at CEU. Upon returning home, she directed her own passion for tumbling by helping others, as an gymnastics coach, which she did for 5 years. Missing her joy of cheerleading, she then began coaching both cheer and tumbling at Bliss, which she has been doing like a pro for 6 now, leading Bliss cheer teams to victories and overall high point awards.

Lacie has been married for 7 years, together they have two children a boy and a girl – both of which tumble and dance at Bliss, and another baby girl on the way. She loves her Bliss kids like her own, and trains them whole heartedly, instructing a range of levels and ages from 2-18. In her spare time, she loves to shop and craft – and some her fabulous bows/headbands can be seen on some of our teams. She is close with her parents and siblings, and enjoys quality time with them – all of which still have a love and expertise of tumbling, and support her now as she excels as a both mother and cheer/tumbling instructor at Bliss.

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Nina Hauber

Dance Instructor

Ninaʼs passion for movement began at a young age propelling her into the arena of dance. She has danced for over for 20 years, and has a background in hip hop, ballet, jazz and modern dance. Contemporary dance provides a platform to showcase Ninaʼs artistry. Her creativity is clearly seen as a spectator. As a student of Ninaʼs, her originality is felt through fresh choreography. As an instructor, Ninaʼs greatest joy comes from watching the development of her students.

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Heather Williams

Dance/Tumbling Instructor

Heather Williams is everyones best friend. She is kind, fun and loves everyone. Her joy for life translates perfectly into her love of cheerleading. She started cheering & tumbling later than most, not until the age 14, but made her high school team with ease due to her natural talent, strength, positive attitude and spunk.

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She was immediately chosen as captain of her sophomore team and again her Junior and Senior for the varsity team.
She traveled with her high school team to Disneyland for cheer nationals and loved every minute of it. Upon graduation, Heather began working at TKJ and company that organizes special needs adults into group homes, where she was a group leader. Heather is a patient and caring person who often does private dance, cheer and tumbling lessons with special needs students of all ages. She will be starting a special needs cheer and dance class at Bliss in the near future! Heather is also a yoga instructor and a Crossfit Trainer, two athletic areas she excels in personally as well. She is married and has her own mini-me, an energetic 1 year old who looks just like her!

Heather’s lean and muscular physic as well as her disciple in the gym are something most of us only dream of, but she can be persuaded with cookie dough and ice cream, or better yet, cookie dough ice cream!

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Lisa Reid

Dance Instructor

Lisa Reid is an expert with young dancers! Not only does she have dance experience in jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, cheer and tumbling – she has 3 kids herself and excels when it comes to giving excellent dance training, mixed fun, and rewards in relation to the mind of a young student.

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Growing up, She traveled across the State and Country performing with her dance talent, as well as elevating her dance training nationally. In her teen years, Lisa was part of the Jordan High Dance Company. Her kind nature and astute intelligence was quickly recognized by others, voting her in as a Dance Co. officer in the position of Artistic Director. This gave her her first taste of joy in the creative freedom to choreograph, and the chance to prove her knack for leadership. She began her teaching career in Murray, with instruction of dance and cheer at a private school for 3 years and 2 years instruction with Murray community dance program.

We were lucky enough to snatch her up for the Bliss Staff in 2014. Lisa is thriving in teaching our pre-comp team (pre/k) as well as our young 2 year olds showing great patience and smart instruction. She loves all her little dancers like her own! It has given her great joy to watch them grow, improve, and start to develop their passion for dance. With two girls dancing as well, dance/tumbling is a prevalent activity in her life; when not doing all things dance, she loves being with her husband and children, especially when it involves the outdoors. She is an avid hiker, and loves to travel and eating good food!

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Dayne Rockwood

Dance Instructor

Allie is a recent graduate from Alta High, class of 2015. Don’t let her young age fool you she has filled her years with adventure, service, and dedication to dance training. Allie has traveled the world, much of which was for humanitarian service, some of her most memorable trips being Peru, Ghana, France and South Africa.

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Much like her diverse traveling experiences, she has also explored many different forms of dance. Allie has been dancing for 11 years, 10 of which she spent training at Bliss. During that time, she also danced with a ballet/tap studio for 5 years, doubling her dance training – shaping her into a well rounded, advanced dancer. She is well versed in many styles including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, character, cheer and tumbling – jazz being her forte. During her years a Bliss, she was often a dance team captain and always leader on her teams. By the age of 15, Allie was assisting classes at Bliss and expressing herself with choreographing. Allie also spent much of her teen years babysitting, and later became a nannying. Because of her love for children and dance, her familiarity with the Bliss style and superior assisting skill, at the age of 17, Allie headed up our new Mini Company competition team. The team proved a huge success, taking multiple first place, high score & outstanding choreography rankings in their first season. She is now expressing herself creatively, not only as a Bliss instructor, but as an assistant to a fashion designer. Allie has found a recent passion for Yoga, and is now certified to teach. She is also attending her first year of college as a freshman at the University of Utah, and continues to take adult dance classes to further her training and strengthen her love of dance.

 

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Allie Platt

Dance Instructor

Allie is a recent graduate from Alta High, class of 2015. Don’t let her young age fool you she has filled her years with adventure, service, and dedication to dance training. Allie has traveled the world, much of which was for humanitarian service, some of her most memorable trips being Peru, Ghana, France and South Africa.

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Much like her diverse traveling experiences, she has also explored many different forms of dance. Allie has been dancing for 11 years, 10 of which she spent training at Bliss. During that time, she also danced with a ballet/tap studio for 5 years, doubling her dance training – shaping her into a well rounded, advanced dancer. She is well versed in many styles including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, character, cheer and tumbling – jazz being her forte. During her years a Bliss, she was often a dance team captain and always leader on her teams. By the age of 15, Allie was assisting classes at Bliss and expressing herself with choreographing. Allie also spent much of her teen years babysitting, and later became a nannying. Because of her love for children and dance, her familiarity with the Bliss style and superior assisting skill, at the age of 17, Allie headed up our new Mini Company competition team. The team proved a huge success, taking multiple first place, high score & outstanding choreography rankings in their first season. She is now expressing herself creatively, not only as a Bliss instructor, but as an assistant to a fashion designer. Allie has found a recent passion for Yoga, and is now certified to teach. She is also attending her first year of college as a freshman at the University of Utah, and continues to take adult dance classes to further her training and strengthen her love of dance.

 

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Mickenzie Black

Dance Instructor

Mickenzie Black is a well-loved Sr Company dancer here at Bliss; her stellar, well rounded dance talent and leadership skill has set an example to our other dancers, many of which aspire to be like her which also led her to a main teaching position at the early age of 16.

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Her advanced dance talent in ballet, contemporary, modern, lyrical, hip hop, jazz and character (both in team routines, solos and duets) is not only admirable, but her ability to learn and execute choreography with exactness lead to her to receiving the “mirror image” Bliss scholarship. She has been training in dance for 13 years, and for the past four years she has been training 5 days a week for 4-5 hours a day. Her main focus has been dedicated to her ballet training and because of her commitment, she has been a principle ballet dancer in the nutcracker since she was 14 and recently she was was Belle in a Beauty and the Beast ballet production. Mickenzie made the Bliss advanced Sr Company team at Bliss as an 8th grader, and has been captain of the team for 3 years. Her natural ability to lead had her team, even the older members, voting her in as a dance captain early on. Her natural leadership skill and hard work has also landed her the position as a the Jr Class service Vice President at Jordan High. Before that, Mickenzie was also the President of her middle school dance team, landing her the job as not only head choreographer but also a key part in the organization and team building skill of girls her same age. She was then hired at the age of 14 to assist Bliss classes, and then instruct on her own at the age of 16. At the young age of 17, is already a respected ballet and jazz instructor for our elementary students. Through her early teaching and leadership experiences, her ability to retain and apply her own training critiques as well as her creative and committed mind, she found a deep passion for the art of instruction, helping our students set goals both in their dance progression and in building self confidence.

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Jenn Johnson

Dance Instructor

Jennifer Johnson found her voice when she found dance.  With eight brothers, the art of dance quickly became something she loved, a “girly” outlet away from the trucks and karate of her brothers.  The dance studio was a place for her express herself through movement and see her goals reached.  In high school she turned her concentration over to academics and dancing took a back seat.  Her passion never left, the structure and goal setting of the dance studio gave her great strength in other areas of her life.  As soon as she could, she returned not only to dancing, but instructing.  Now as a dance instructor at Bliss, one of Jenn’s greatest attributes is her ability to help kids find structure, set goals, and develop a passion for dance at a young age.  Seeing Bliss dancers express themselves has brought her great joy as she remembers fondly what dance (and dance instructors) did for her.  Jenn has three girls of her own (who are all Bliss dancers/tumblers/cheerleaders) her heart is filled with excitement when Bliss kids or her own, share their excitement as they master a tumbling trick or dance move!  Jenn hopes to help Bliss dancers not only grow and develop into better dancers, but to become goal setting, determined, kind people, for the rest of their lives.  

 

 

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Lauren

Dance Instructor

Lauren began her ballet training at the age of 3. She danced with a small local studio for 10 years performing in many ballets and dancing nearly every role in the Nutcracker. During those years she performed in Ballet West’s nutcracker almost every year. She found no matter how many times she performed it never got old! When Lauren was 14 she performed her last role with the local studio as Cinderella. She left and began training with Jan Fuigit and Jeffery Rogers at CBC in Salt Lake City. During this time Lauren soaked up new information like a sponge and she began to truly understand the fundamentals of ballet technique. She improved her own technique so much in the first year that she began looking for even more intense training outside of Utah. At age 16 Lauren auditioned and was accepted with a merit scholarship to Walnut Hill performing arts school in Natick Massachusetts. Leaving her family and friends in Utah wasn’t easy but she would have the adventure of a lifetime. While at Walnut Hill Lauren had the opportunity to perform in many ballets, her favorite of which was Balanchine’s Serenade. She also had the opportunity to choreograph in the student choreography showcase. After graduation from Walnut Hill Lauren returned home to get an education while she danced at University of Utah. She decided a career as a Dental hygienist would allow her time to teach as well. While she focused on school she taught ballet at Revolution Dance Studio and Utah Artists School of Ballet. For the past 4 years Lauren has been working as a full time dental hygienist teaching ballet. Two years ago Lauren became a certified yoga instructor and has found much love in this. She is married to her best friend! They love to hike, camp, fish and the foodie in them both loves to try new restaurants. She and her husband just welcomed their first son into their family in February and she couldn’t be happier!

 

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Emily Walton

Secretary/Admin

Emily Walton is our newest addition to Bliss & we are grateful to have her. She works hard behind the scene to keep Bliss organized and Bliss family accounts updated. Her thoroughness and secretarial skill have made her our most reliable asset when it comes to all things registration and finance.

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She headed up the new account system (established summer of 2015) which allows our Bliss families to log on to their account at anytime to access dues, view payments, and even pay online or set up auto pay. Emily continues to work diligently to make the system run smoothly and as user friendly as possible, in addition to many other important tasks to keep Bliss a productive and respectable business.

Emily is caring and friendly and always willing to help out, whether it be regarding finance or just to lend a helpful hand. Like much of our staff, she is a graduate from Jordan High School; she also attended the University of Utah earning a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and human development. When she isn’t busy at work, she loves everything outdoors, including skiing, running, rock climbing, hiking, and camping with her family. Other passions include: reading, cooking (& eating), floral decorating, as well as entertaining friends and family. After living in various locations throughout the years, Emily has returned to Sandy with her husband to raise her three darling children. She loves being a mom and watching her kids grow. Although her children are young, it has already been a rewarding journey to watch the growth of her kids as Bliss Dance/tumbling students. Not a trained dancer herself, she still has a deep rooted respect and joy for all things dance.

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Lindsi Stevens

Executive Director

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Kristie Savage

Tumbling Instructor

Kristie Savage started gymnastics at the age of 8 after watching the Summer Olympics and decided that gymnastics was the sport for her.  She loves gymnastics and later found a love for cheerleading, where she was able to show off her advanced tumbling skill.
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Ten years after she began, she retired both her gymnastics leotard, as a level 8 competitive gymnast, and the Varsity cheer pompoms to pursue a college education. Kristie received a bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology at BYU. The majority of her professional/volunteer experience involves little children (swimming instructor, daycare, Spanish tutoring, Special Olympics, etc.) which is why she excels now as a tumbling instructor for the young students at Bliss, even as young as 2 year old! She is not only well trained in all things youth, as a tumbling instructor she is organized, fun, and understands the importance of structure and positivity to develop young minds.
In her spare time (what spare time? She is a wife and mother of 2 adorable toddlers) she volunteers as a teacher in her church primary, serves on the HOA in her community, and is an independent sales consultant.  Kristie also enjoys singing, baking, camping, hiking, watching old black and white movies with her hubby, and is an avid journal writer.  She loves that she has the opportunity to share her love for tricks and flips with the young generation of future all star athletes.
Are you ready to feel the Bliss?