Coaching


 

One of the biggest questions we get is about how to pick a private coach. First, it is important to know that the Richmond Figure Skating Club deals with all coaches as independent contractors. They do not work for the club, but at times the club does reimburse them on behalf of its members for services rendered.

Richmond Figure Skating Club does not make recommendations on specific coaches, but encourages the skater and the parent to start out by trying one that the student may have had as a group teacher in Learn to Skate classes or who matches them in personality and skating philosophy. Some coaches offer introductory private lessons.   Coaches may specialize in specific disciplines of skating. If you have any questions or concerns about our coaches, please consult SkateNation’s Figure Skating Director, Lea Rizer, @ learizer@hotmail.com or (804) 364­1477 ext. 119. Lea would be happy to help you find the right private coach for your skater!

Skaters/Parents pay the coaches directly for their coaching time (typically in increments of 30 minute lessons). Coaching fees are set directly by the coach and may vary. Some coaches offer bundled rates and some accept online payments via PayPal. Skaters will incur additional fees for ice time, test sessions and competition fees.

 

Our 2015­-16 season coaches are (alphabetical by last name):

 

Julie Condit

Julie started skating at the age of 5 in Tokyo, Japan and her passion followed bringing with it many different adventures and people. She moved to Richmond in 2003 when she began her training with Olga Mudrak and continued her career as a competitive figure skater until 2011. She graduated in 2015 from the University of Delaware with a degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Exercise Physiology along with a minor in Nutrition.

During her four years at the University of Delaware, Julie skated on their Synchronized Skating Team when they achieved three National medals and earned their 16th Eastern US title. She is a Double Gold Medalist in Moves in the Field (MIF) and Ice Dance, and has attained Junior Freestyle and Junior Free Dance test levels. She is a member of U.S. Figure Skating (USFS) as well as the Professional Skaters Association (PSA) and enjoys teaching all ages and levels. She is available upon request.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Lisa Fuller

Lisa was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up skating in Hanover, NH with the Skating Club at Dartmouth. She tested/competed in figures and freestyle through 4th test/Novice until she turned 18, at which time she enrolled in Grinnell, College in Iowa. Once there she started her coaching career both in group and private lessons. Lisa graduated from Grinnell in 1992 with a major in Elementary Education and French. She now lives in Midlothian with her two sons.

During her competitive career Lisa was coached by 2-time US National Dance champions Lois and Mike McGean, as well as Red Bainbridge and Julie Graham-Hawkins during the summers in Lake Placid. As a coach Lisa has been coaching Learn to Skate groups and private lessons for 19 years; she has served on the RFSC board as recording secretary; and was Director of the Learn to Skate program at SkateNation for 4 years. In addition Lisa has skated/coaches synchronized skating at SNP for the last 5 years. Lisa enjoys teaching all levels and ages, from beginners through advanced skaters, including MIF, Freestyle and synchro. She is thrilled to be able to do what she loves and share that love with her students.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

ISI Certification:  Gold Judge Certification

Mary Ruth Halapatz

Mary Ruth was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she started skating outdoors at the age of 7. After earning a BA in German from Allegheny College and a MLS in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin, Mary Ruth came to Richmond where she worked for 20 years as a librarian in public, institutional and special libraries. While working as a librarian, Mary Ruth enlisted in the Virginia Air National Guard. There where she served for 28 years as a Graphics Technician and Communications Planner, achieving the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.

Mary Ruth has passed Adult Silver MIF and Silver Dance. She is a member of the Ice Skating Institute (ISI), USFS and PSA and has coached Special Olympians. Mary Ruth has worked with children for over 40 years, and began coaching figure skating in 2000.

Skating offers a variety of paths to success. Coaching challenges Mary Ruth to help skaters of all ages accomplish their skating goals and to find their own joy in the sport. Mary Ruth enjoys teaching beginning skaters and welcomes students with special needs.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category B

Stefanie David Jenkins

Stefanie began skating in Virginia Beach when she was 4 ½. Born in Neumarkt, Germany (Bavaria), she is fluent in her native language. She received a Bachelor of Arts in German from Randolph-Macon College (in Ashland, VA) in January 2006. On August 12th, 2006, she married Bryan Jenkins. And on August 19, 2014 gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Laney.

Stefanie competed in ISI through Freestyle 7 until she was 10 and USFS to the Novice level until she was 14. She has also competed as an adult skater in 2013. Her coaches have included PSA Master rated Coach Audrey Weisiger (Michael Weiss’ coach), Linda Reynolds, Elena Betchke, and Sherry Pence. Stefanie spent one week at the German National Training Center in Obersdorf working with program director Michael Huth. She has been coaching for over 15 years and is a USFS double Gold Medalist in MIF and Freeskate. Stefanie has also passed 3 of the Pre-Gold Dances as well. As a coach, she has had students pass Senior MIF and Adult Gold MIF. Stefanie is a member of USFS/PSA coach in good standing.

Stefanie enjoys coaching all levels and disciplines in skating one-on-one and in group classes.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Stephanie Brand Lindsey

Stephanie was born and raised in Richmond, VA. She started individual figure skating at the age of 5 and joined the synchro team at age 12 and remains active in both fields. Stephanie started coaching Learn to Skate class in 2010 and has taught private lessons as well. She is still working on her Senior MIF and Gold level dances.

Stephanie is a member of USFS/PSA. She hopes to one day earn ratings for coaching within the PSA. Stephanie is a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and works at an IT staffing company here in Richmond. She was recently married in late 2015 and loves to spent time with her new husband and dog, Ruby.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Eric Meier

Eric is a two-time US National Medalist and International Competitor in Ice Dance, and a Gold Medalist in Compulsory Dance, Free Dance, Figures and MIF. He has coached skaters through Gold level tests and International Dances, and taken individual skaters and dance teams to US Championships. As a competitive skater he trained across the US and Internationally in England, Colorado Springs, Lake Placid and the University of Delaware, under International and Olympic level coaches. He is a member of USFS and has coached on the East Coast for over 20 years. Eric resides in Richmond, VA with his wife Stephanie (who is also an RFSC Coach) and their two young children. Eric not only strives to help skaters reach their technical and athletic goals, but also enjoys watching the skaters develop strong character and benefits of participation in the sport.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category B

Stephanie Meier

Stephanie has been coaching since 1997 and is the Program Director and Co?Head Coach of Richmond Synchro. She has coached Beginner skaters of all ages through Senior Level Tests, and has worked with Regional, Sectional and National competitors. In addition, Stephanie has coached Synchronized Skating Teams on the East Coast from Beginner through National-qualifying levels, including Collegiate and Adult divisions as well.

Stephanie is a former competitor in Freestyle, Figures and Synchronized Skating. She is a current member of USFS/PSA. She holds a degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and has an extensive background in music and editing. Stephanie resides in Richmond with her husband Eric, also an RFSC coach, and their two young children. While she greatly enjoys the athletic and competitive achievements of her skaters, she also feels one of her greatest accomplishments in coaching is having a positive influence on her skaters’ lives and seeing them reap the benefits of hard work in the sport not just on, but off the ice as well.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Olga Mudrak

Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, Olga represented her country as an ice dancer at the National and International levels. With her partner, she won the Ukrainian National Junior Championships and competed at Junior World Championships. Olga was a Grand Prix competitor at the senior level.

Olga has been coaching since 1994 and specializes in choreography, ice dance, freestyle and MIF. She has choreographed for Ukrainian National champions, European Champions and the World Bronze medalist. Her students have competed at the National and Sectional levels and have earned gold in MIF, ice dance and freestyle. Olga holds a degree from the Institute of Culture in Ukraine and is good standing with USFS/PSA.

With her unique, creative flair, Olga has choreographed many holiday shows at SkateNation Plus. After years of coaching, Olga’s philosophy and coaching goal is aiming to bring the best out of each skater with love, care and hard work realizing that every skater has their own potential and ability.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Valentyn Nikolayev

Valentyn Nikolayev was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia. During his figure skating career as a single and pair skater, he became a national level competitor. Valentyn earned an engineering degree in his home city of Saint Petersburg, Russia and continued his education receiving a Master of Science Degree in Education at the Kiev State Pedagogical Institute in Kiev, Ukraine.

Valentyn’s coaching career includes more than 45 years of experience, including 16 years in Odessa’s Special Children’s and Youth Sport School in the Olympic Reserve of Figure Skating in Odessa, Ukraine, then relocating to the United States in 1997 to SkateNation Plus in Richmond, Virginia where he currently resides.

Valentyn is a member of EPSA, PSA and USFS. A list of his notable students includes Olympic Champions Oksana Baiul and Victor Petrenko, World Bronze Medalist and European Champion Viachislav Zagorodniuk, US National Champion Nicole Bobek, as well as World Bronze Medalist, European Bronze Medalist, and 7-time National German Champion Stefan Lindemann.

Valentyn is one of the world’s leading coaches that specializes in skating and jumping techniques, off-ice conditioning, and fitness for figure skating athletes. Valentyn is known for designing an individualized program for figure skaters.

Valentyn creates, leads, and coaches seminars nationally and internationally. He has taught over 120 training seminars. He also serves as an official Consultant of the German National Figure Skating Team, the Norwegian National Figure Skating Team, and the Ukrainian National Figure Skating Team.

USFS Ranking:  Level X

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Dmytri (Dima) Overchuk

Dmytri is originally from the Ukraine and started his skating career there. He has international competition experience as well competing in the Ukrainian National Championships. He and his partner were the 2000 Ukrainian Cup Champions in Ice Dancing. Dmytri then moved to the United States and was a competitor at the Eastern Sectional Championships with his partner in 2005-2006 as well as the Lake Placid Championships in New York in 2005-2007. Aside from his experience in competitive skating, Dima has experience with show skating. He toured the United States and Canada with “Disney on Ice” and has had the opportunity to perform in many ice shows.

As a professional, Dima has worked with Qualifying and Non-qualifying Regional competitors, Sectional competitors, and a National Solo Dance Champion. In addition to his background in skating, Dima holds a B.A. in Physical Education, is a certified Personal Trainer, and a certified Massage Therapist. He also shares his love for skating and teaching with his wife, Whitney, who is also a coach and his son, Alex. Dmytri has been coaching in Richmond for 7 years and enjoys teaching all disciplines and aspects of skating: ice dance, freestyle, MIF, pole harness, choreography, hockey, power skating and off-ice training.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Whitney Overchuk

As a child, Whitney grew up training in Lake Placid at the Olympic Training Facility where she trained under Mary Emes and Thomas Litz. During Whitney’s competitive career, she competed through the Senior level at the Qualifying Regional level as well as local competitions. Whitney is a USFS double Gold Medalist in MIF as well as Freestyle and has passed through her Novice Pairs test and Gold Canadian Freeskating test.

Whitney has over 6 years of teaching experience and has coached competitors at the Regional level. She is currently on the coaching staff for VIBE (Virginia Ice Box Ensemble-Theater on Ice) for her second season with a team placing 2nd in the Nation. Whitney is a current member of USFS/PSA.

Whitney also shares a love for the ice with her husband, Dima (who is also a coach) and is a mother to her son, Alex. Whitney enjoys teaching all levels of figure skating from the beginner to the advanced levels.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Lea Rizer

Lea started skating at the age of 5 in Cincinnati, OH. After graduating from Virginia Tech, she settled in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two teenage daughters. She has been coaching for 21 years and has been the Figure Skating Director at SkateNation Plus for 18 years.

Lea passed her Junior Freestyle and 7th figures tests and competed at the Regional and Sectional levels. She was coached by Richard Callaghan and Bobbie Shire among many others. As a professional, Lea’s students have competed at Regional and Sectional competitions. Lea has worked with skaters from beginning levels through gold level MIFs and freestyle. She’s had students compete in Basic Skills through Senior level. Lea is a member of the USFS/PSA.

Lea has loved the sport of figure skating her entire life and brings that philosophy to all of her students. She wants them to push themselves to be the best skaters they can be but also to love the sport. Skating provides a lot of discipline that will be used throughout a skater’s entire life. Lea is happy to share her love of figure skating with others.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Elizabeth (Beth) Parker­ Silver

Elizabeth began skating at the age of five. Elizabeth specializes in skating, jumping and spinning techniques. She has 20 years of coaching experience and has coached numerous athletes through their Senior tests and has taken skaters from Regionals to Junior Nationals.

Elizabeth skated competitively in Canada for the Granite Club under Louis Stong and for the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club under Douglas Haw and Ellen Burka. She competed through Junior Nationals in Canada. Upon returning to the United States she attained her 7th figure test, Junior Freestyle Test, Senior Moves in the Field (MIF) and Pre-Silver Dance tests. She represented the SC of Wilmington under the direction of Ron Ludington and the Detroit Skating Club under David Lowery and Mitch Moyer. She has had instruction from many top coaches including Sandra Bezic, Osborne Colson, Bernard Ford and Cindy Watson Caprel.

Elizabeth works with beginner to Senior level skaters. She is available upon request.

PSA Rating:  Master Rating MIF; Senior Rating Freestyle

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Carissa Greene Tambaschi

Carissa grew up in the great northwest (WA State) and has 18 years of coaching experience in all levels. In 1992, at the age of 16, she moved to Delaware to pursue a fulltime skating career specializing in ice dancing.  While there, she became a two-time US national medalist in ice dancing. Carissa has USFS and CFSA gold medals in Ice Dancing, Novice Freestyle Test and 4th figure tests. Carissa is a US National, International, Junior National, Sectional and Regional coach. Carissa was a the MIF official coach for the new moves that just rolled out a few years ago. She organized all of the skaters & demonstrations for the judges as well as explained each new move to the judges during a 3 hour presentation for the judges.

Carissa’s students have attended Nationals, Junior Nationals, Sectionals and Regional championships. Carissa is a full-time member of PSA. She plays a large roll in choreographing international singles and ice dance skaters. Carissa’s strengths include choreography, MIF, ice dancing, freestyle, off-ice stretch classes, group lessons, power hockey and adult lessons. Carissa’s focus is to help each student achieve their goals by helping them have fun while pursuing their dreams in competitive ice-skating!

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Tiffany Thornton

Tiffany has well over 10 years of coaching experience at the South Atlantic Qualifying Regional, Sectional and National Levels. She has coached more than 5 National TOI teams, including the 2015 National Silver Medalist Team and the 2014 National Bronze Medalist Team. She is the head TOI coach of Virginia Ice Box Ensemble (VIBE).

She is locally from Charlottesville, VA where she grew up skating competing locally and regionally at the Qualifying Regional level. She spent her summers and winters at the Olympic training facility in Lake Placid,  NY training with Tommy Litz and other Olympic renowned coaches. Tiffany holds a degree in Science and Education, has served on the Board of Directors for her old hometown skating club, and has devoted many years as the Competition Chair for the Virginia Commonwealth State Games.

Tiffany enjoys working with young competitors and has coached many Non-Qualifying Regional freestyle medalists and champions. She has coached skaters through their Senior figure skating tests and is also a former Skating Director from Charlottesville, VA.  As a Director, Tiffany devoted many years to building on-ice programs, producing local ice shows and hosting fundraisers for the community. Along with her coaching accomplishments, Tiffany encourages her athletes to look to the future and apply their love for the ice into other areas. She has been instrumental in helping her athletes receive academic and skating scholarships for college. Tiffany also has experience in training her athletes for junior coaching jobs and show skating.

Tiffany believes there is a path for every skater and enjoys guiding each student onto the appropriate path that best fits the need of the skater. She specializes in choreography, freestyle, MIF, TOI, off-ice classes and group.  Along with coaching, Tiffany has 3 children who all share a love for the ice.

PSA Rating:  Registered MIF; Certified Choreography

USFS Ranking:  Level III

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Karen Stosch Watson

Karen was born in Richmond, VA and started ice skating briefly as a teenager at Ice Unlimited until it closed after 1 ½ years. Ice skating became a passion once again with the opening of SkateNation Plus in the late 1990’s. In 1998, she started competing and testing.  She won a gold medal at Adult Nationals in 2005. She has also skated for many years on an Adult Synchronized Skating team earning a bronze medal at Sectionals. She has passed her Adult Silver MIF test.

Karen started teaching Learn to Skate classes in 2000. She is a member of USFS as well as the PSA. She is also a member of the Ice Skating Institute (ISI). She served on the board of the Richmond Figure Skating Club for over 5 years in the role of Secretary. She has volunteered as a coach for the annual holiday show for many years.

Karen is married and has two children. She retired as an IT Systems Analyst from the Department of Juvenile Justice in December, 2012. In 2014, she graduated from Columbia Southern University, Summa Cum Laude, with a BS in Business Administration and a concentration in Project Management. In December, 2015, Karen was among the few to be nominated to join The National Society of Leadership and Success honor society to continue developing leadership skills as well as earn additional professional leadership certifications.

Karen enjoys teaching students from the very young to the young at heart. Skating is for all ages and abilities.

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category B

ISI Certification:  Gold Judge & Synchronized Judge Certification

Maude Hammer White

Maude was born in Brooklyn, NY and started skating at the age of 9.  Maude came to Richmond in 2012, having taught in the Philadelphia area for over 45 years. She was the Director of Skating at the Philadelphia Skating Club & HS in Ardmore, PA the last 8 years before moving to Richmond. She is married and has three children and 8 grandchildren. In 1996, she graduated from Gwynedd Mercy University in Gwynedd Valley, PA with a BS in Business Administration, with a minor in Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations.

Maude is a USFS triple Gold Medalist in Figures, Freestyle and Dance having competed in Eastern Sectionals at the Intermediate, Novice, Junior and Senior levels. She was coached by Gustave Lussi and Red Bainbridge.  As a professional, Maude has coached many Regional, Sectional, and National competitors. The love of skating she has instilled in her students has led many of them to go on and coach. She is a member of the USFS and PSA.  Maude believes that skating provides many lifetime lessons to her students as they grow and develop through this sport and they make many lifelong friends.

Maude teaches all levels and aspects of skating from beginners thru high level to all junior and senior skaters. Introductory pricing is available and lessons are available upon request.

PSA Rating: Master Rated in Figures, Freestyle, Dance, MIF, and Group Instruction; Certified Pairs

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Nicole Zawojski

Nicole was born in Chicago, Illinois and started skating there at the age of three. She moved to Richmond, VA in 1995 and trained there for the rest of her competitive skating career. She graduated from Deep Run High School and went on to graduate from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Psychology in 2012.

Nicole is a USFS quadruple Gold Medalist in MIF, Freestyle, Dance, and Free Dance and has 3 International Dances. She is actively working on the rest of her International Dances as well as competing on a Senior level Theater on Ice (TOI) Team. She is looking forward to competing in her second TOI Nationals competition in 2016. Nicole is a 3-time top-10 finisher in final rounds at the Qualifying South Atlantic Regional Championships with her highest finish in the Junior Ladies Division placing 7th.

Nicole was coached by Olga Mudrak, Elena Betchke, and Danielle Hartsell-Minnis and has experience training under many Olympic and National level competitors as well as Olympic and National level coaches.

As a professional, Nicole has worked with Qualifying and Non-qualifying Regional competitors as well as Sectional and National competitors. She is currently on the coaching staff for Virginia Ice Box Ensemble (VIBE) TOI with a team placing 2nd in the Nation. She is a member of the USFS/PSA.  Nicole enjoys teaching all areas of figure skating to skaters at all levels and ages.

PSA Rating:  Registered MIF; Registered Choreography

USFS Coaching Education Requirement (CER):  Category A

Alternatively, small group skating instruction is available through:

LearnToSkate sponsored by SkateNation Plus year-round
Spring Skills Clinics sponsored by RFSC
Summer Skills Clinics sponsored by SkateNation Plus
Private arrangements made with some coaches