Staff

Meet our Coaches!

Shari Cirrito

I am the proud owner of Thames Valley Gymnastics! I bought the business in 2005, and there hasn’t been a day that I have looked back since! Owning the gym that I was once a part of as a gymnast was a dream come true for me. With the support of my amazing husband, Joe, we have been able to build a new and final home for Thames Valley Gymnastics so we don’t have to ever relocate again! My goal was always to build a brand new facility for our gymnasts and to promote a family atmosphere for our gymnasts to explore the challenges of the sport. I run our gym with my heart, and those who know me well can attest to that!

On a personal note, I am a former gymnast myself who spent most of my days in the gym as a child, and competed in Level 10 Nationals at my peak. In my opinion it was my heart that got to me to that point, because I refused to fail or give up, which is a life lesson I try to teach my gymnasts daily. I attended UCONN for 5 years and received a Masters degree in Secondary Math Education. Following college, I was hired to teach math at Montville High School where I enjoyed teaching students anything from algebra to pre-calc. In 2005, the time was right for me to pursue my true dream of owning Thames Valley Gymnastics where I continue to apply all that I learned in my years of teaching…even math!

At the gym, I am usually seen out on the floor coaching the optional women’s team, and on occasion I am found behind the desk interacting with our gym families. I give hugs often, and have gotten very good at catching gymnasts mid-air as they run to say hello and get their first Coach Shari hug of the day.

Although I am very proud of the gym family and facility that we have, one of my biggest accomplishments in life is my family. I have a wonderful supportive husband, Joe, and together we have 5 children, Miranda, Alyssa, Sydney (a very proud Thames Valley gymnast Level 9 team member), Joseph, and Sean. During my time outside of gym, we are always busy with family life trying to enjoy every moment and make lots of memories…and run our kids everywhere they need to be! Our easiest family member remains to be Peanut, our family dog, who is always being held or on one of our laps 🙂

Welcome to our gym family, and we hope it will mean as much to you and your gymnast as it does to my staff and I!

Sue Portafee

Hi! I am Sue Portofee.

I am a proud Mom of 3 children. My position here at Thames Valley Gymnastics has evolved over the last 13 years. I started as a member of this gym family coaching preschool & recreational gymnastics. As of this time I still coach a bit yet I am now the Administrative General Manager & CT Certified Summer Camp Director for Thames. I am USAG and Safe Sport Certified. I hold a degree in Criminal Justice specializing in juveniles. For 24 years I owned and operated my own daycare. Despite the admirable qualities of our criminal justice system, I believe that proper guidance, love and nurturing will prevent our children from entering it. I also believe that GYMNASTICS is not only the best sport out there but it can play a quintessential role into all other aspects of life. It is a sport that requires physical and mental discipline that is foundational for success in anything you choose to do. My son Kevin is a shining example of this. After training at Thames Valley Gymnastics most of his life Kevin had more than one offer to join an NCAA Division 1 Men’s Collegiate Gymnastics Team. Kevin chose to attend the prestigious College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. He graduated Norwich Free Academy in the top 10% of his class (628 students and a 4.0 GPA!). I believe that Gymnastics & Thames Valley (his home away from home 30 hours a week) was an important aspect of his journey. To achieve this level of excellence in anything you need to have not only an innate ability to time manage, but also a drive and desire within yourself. Even with these traits, success is much harder to achieve without a village of support surrounding you. Thames Valley Gymnastics, along with his family, was that village of support. I am proud to be a member of that village. If you are looking for a gym to call home, I’ll be there at the front desk to welcome you😊  

The following are the remainder of my certifications: CPR , First Aide,  AED, Administration of Meds, EPI Pen, mandatory reporting, safety & risk management, hands on spotting & CT Child Care certified. I am background checked by USAG, State of CT and the FBI.

Danielle “Dee” Jewett

Dee’s interest in the sport of gymnastics began at a young age and when she was finally enrolled in class at Thames Valley at the age of 12, she never looked back. Her love of the sport has only grown over the years, despite a few painful setbacks, and she now tries to pass along her passion for the sport through coaching.

Coaching is one of the many “hats” Dee wears around the gym working with athletes in preschool classes up to the competitive team and everything in between. She is occasionally found in a tool belt acting as handyman, and also puts her photography degree to use as the gym’s photographer.

Dee is a USA Gymnastics Professional member for both the men’s and women’s disciplines, is USAG safety certified, and taken courses through the USA Gymnastics University program.

Giuseppe Verzino

Hello, I am Coach Giuseppe. Some call me Coach Joe for short. I am the head coach of the Men’s Developmental Program at Thames Valley Gymnastics!

I have been doing gymnastics since I was 13 years old. I competed up to Level 10 before graduating High School, and making the NCAA team at Springfield College.

I have been coaching gymnastics since I was 16. And I have been coaching competitive teams for 8 Years. I have worked with gymnasts of all ages and levels including Pre-School, Recreational Classes, Mens and Women’s Levels 3-10, and XCEL Bronze – Diamond.

I am also a Certified Judge for Men’s Gymnastics. I have been a Judge for the past 7 years. I Judge many of the competitions in Connecticut and New England including State and Regional Championships.

Gymnastics has been my number one passion since I started as a teenager. I plan to share my passion with all of the gymnasts that I work with!

Coach Lynn

I did recreational gymnastics starting at age 6 and I learned enough to be able to compete for my high school team.  I started teaching at a township recreation program in the summer of 1994 and started teaching classes at the local gym the next year.  I taught gymnastics while I attended Cook College part of Rutgers University.  I continued to teach and eventually started coaching their rec. team as assistant coach. I continued at the same gym until they shut their doors in February 2012. In August 2012, I started to work at TVAG. I have attended regional and national congress’ to expand my knowledge in the sport of gymnastics. I also completed several of USAG continuing education courses and I am safety certified by USAG. I love gymnastics and I love to teach it too. I have enjoyed the many years of helping to nurture young gymnasts into confident young women.

Sydney

Hi! My name is Sydney and I am a proud member of Thames Valley Gymnastics. My mom is Shari Cirrito, the owner of TVAG. She introduced me to gymnastics as soon as I could walk, thinking it would be good for me to do and I hoping that I would enjoy it. I started competing at the age of 6 in level 3. I spent 12 years competing for Thames Valley and reached Level 9. I have had my fair share of injuries and mental blocks, but I pushed through. I am known very well for my fails and falls. Believe it or not, I received the “Epic Fail” award at our team banquet. It fits me perfectly because I burn and crash every day and live to tell my story. In 2017 I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3 (EDS). “EDS Type 3 is an inherited connective tissue disorder that is caused by defects in a protein called collagen.” Because of this, I am always in pain and injured. We just recently found out that due to constant injuries, I have developed arthritis in my ankle. I wanted to do college gymnastics, however considering my EDS, I decided to stay at TVAG and continue my gymnastics here.  This June (2018), I am graduating from Norwich Technical High School in Culinary Arts. All my years at Norwich Tech, I remained in High Honors. I will be going to Three Rivers Community College this Fall, and will be majoring is Exercise Science and minoring in Psychology. I decided to stay around home instead of going away for college so that way I could stay at Thames Valley and continue my coaching and gymnastics. I have been coaching for 6 years now and went from teaching preschool classes to coaching pre-team. I connect with kids very easily and absolutely love watching them grow and learn new skills. As far as gymnastics goes, I am going to continue working out and try to compete again next season for TVAG. Thames Valley is not a typically gym. We are a family here and I couldn’t be any happier to be a part of the big Thames Valley family.

Kevin Portofee

Hello, my name is Kevin Portofee. I have been a gymnast here at TVAG for almost a full decade! I reached level 10 and competed in the Junior Elite division. I won state, regional, and even a national title during my tenure with TVAG. Now, I am training to compete D1 Men’s Gymnastics for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I have coached the Boy’s Pre-Team, Team, JO Women as well as wherever else I am needed. I work hard to try and bring out each gymnasts full potential however large or small that is. I look forward to working with your gymnast!

Jessica Doubleday

Jessica Doubleday is a serious, introspective person and an analytical and disciplined thinker.

She is careful, thorough and very focused on her responsibilities. She is reserved and will generally express herself in a factual, direct, and succinct manner. A conscientious person, her approach to her work is systematic, methodical, and well organized, based on thorough knowledge of, and respect for, the book. Working with factual, technical or detailed information, she will produce carefully thought-out work of high quality and precision.

Jessica Doubleday’s background consists of 12 years of gymnastics experience as well as 4 years of gymnastics coaching. She also has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, a Associates in Exercise Science, NASM Certification, NASM Performance Enhancement and Sports Therapy Certification, A Body in Balanced Certification, and is currently in school at Bay Path University for her Doctorate in Clinical psychology.

Kaitlyn

My name is Kaitlyn and I have been doing gymnastics since the age of 5. I grew up in Manahawkin NJ and was gymnast at Garden State Gymnastics and then moved to Extreme Gymnastics.

I moved to CT in 2014 to be with my now husband who is stationed in Groton. My last State Championship I was silver medalist on Floor. Floor was always my best event and still is. I was a competitive gymnast up until I hit high school, then I took a break from competing to focus on school and to do theatre and dance, which was my other pasion but I still kept up with tumbling. My junior year and senior year of high school I went back to competitive gymnastics and competed for the high school gymnastics team.

My senior year I suffered a bad knee injury the day before my first meet. I tore my ACL which ended my gymnastics career according to the doctor. I did go back to gymnastics once I was 100% heeled to do a little more tumbling and to do the skill I got injured on so I could say I got up and did it again (just 10 months later). After thinking if I should stay a competive gymnast or listen to the doctor and stop, I went with my heart and I listened to the doctor and stopped. Thats when I decided to become a gymnastics coach because I knew with coaching I would be able to share my love of the sport with all of the athletes that I would be getting to coach.

I currently have my Associates in Health and Physical education and am currently going to Nursing School and hope to one day become an APRN and specialize in Sports Medicine. After getting injured and going through the process I definitely believed everything happens for a reason.

I am so thankful that I am able to still tumble and share my passion with these amazing athletes and watch them not only grow as a gymnast but as a person.

Shea Lee

My name is Shea Lee. I am a current senior at Norwich Free Academy, graduating in June of 2018. I am attending King’s College in Pennsylvania the fall of 2018 to pursue my dream of becoming a Physician’s Assistant in their 5-year accelerated P.A. program. I have been working at Thames Valley for a little over 2 years. I am CPR and First Aid certified, Safesport Certified, a certified instructor, Safety and Risk Management Certified, and have taken spotting classes. I have been working with kids since I was 9 years old as I would babysit for family and friends. Two summers ago I worked at Sue’s Daycare 4 days a week, last summer I was a camp counselor at the Thames Valley Summer Camp, 5 days a week as well as coaching classe,s and I will be doing that again this upcoming summer. I coach the tumble tots I and II classes on Saturdays and level 1’s, I coach level 2’s on Monday nights as well as open tumble. On Thursdays, I coach the level 2’s and Fridays are level 1’s. I love working with all the gymnasts and seeing them improve in their skills and prepare them for the next level up. I myself am a track and field girl, but I was introduced to gymnastics by Sue and Kevin Portofee in 2015 and have grown a love and appreciation for the sport. Thames Valley Gymnastics has become like a second home and I hope you feel the same way.

%d bloggers like this: