Our passionate, highly trained staff are committed to helping our students thrive as gymnasts and individuals. It is our mission to create an environment where all children can play and grow.
Karissa Johnson, Founder & Owner
Karissa is the proud founder of Spectra Gymnastics. She has been teaching in the gymnastics industry for the past 15 years in a variety of roles throughout her career. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and has worked as an ABA Therapist since 2008. With her blended background of gymnastics and behavioral therapy, she has created specialized programs at Spectra to teach a variety of social, emotional and communication skills through the movement of gymnastics. She has an undying passion for creating inclusive environments for all abilities and diverse learners. “It is such an honor and privilege to work with our community of learners at Spectra. I believe in using a variety of approaches and strategies to guide our students into reaching their fullest potential”.
Karissa gives presentations on her programs and experience through USA Gymnastics' Regional and National Congresses each year.
She is currently developing online coursework that will be the building blocks to creating inclusive gymnastics programs worldwide.
Jesse Norris, Instructor
Jesse graduated from Quest University Canada in 2013 with a major in Psychology. He has since worked as a counselor and teacher at a residential treatment center for children and at an alternative high school in S.E. Portland. Jesse has seven years of coaching experience in basketball, coaching last season at Cleveland High School. He has many years of playing experience in basketball, football and baseball. Jesse believes in working towards goals as an individual and as a team. He is an incredible role model and strives to teach classes that inspire minds to create!
Ellie Wirth, Instructor
Ellie is currently an optional level 9 gymnast at Oregon Metropolitan Elite Gymnastics Academy, also known as Omega. She has competed in gymnastics in the U.S. Junior Olympic program since she was six years old and holds many state titles. Gymnastics is her passion and favorite sport, and she loves every minute she spends in the gym. Ellie volunteered weekly at Spectra from 2015 through 2017 and is now a proud member of the Spectra teaching team! She enjoys coaching other athletes who are also diagnosed with ASD (and related disorders) and she loves every minute of teaching others.
Kendra Weisner, Instructor
Kendra has been working with children for almost 15 years and has a background in ABA and Early Childhood Education. Her teaching style incorporates a fun approach to skill building, by using a little bit of humor and a lot of imagination. Her experience as a mother has developed her appreciation for the strength it takes parents to raise children with special needs, and she is honored to be a source of support for these amazing families. Kendra is a firm believer that world would be a far better place if we all worked a little less and played a lot more!
Matt Springer, Instructor
Matthew and his wife Melissa moved to Oregon from Washington, D.C. two years ago to explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Matthew got his B.A. in Elementary Education from American University. While studying at American he found a calling to serve the needs of individuals diagnosed with ASD. After graduating, Matthew worked as a play therapy facilitator for pre-school aged children. Matthew also worked for a large community-based organization serving the needs of individuals diagnosed on the ASD as a job coach. In his downtime, Matthew is an avid whitewater kayaker (he’s also an ACA instructor) and studies and teaches yoga. Matthew’s teaching style is non-conventional and playful. He looks forward to meeting and working with the Spectra Gymnastics community!
Robin Graduated from the University of Oregon in 2016 with a B.S. in Communication Disorders and Sciences. She has a specialized skill set in teaching speech sounds, literacy skills and phonetic development and has a background in Early Childhood Education. Robin has taught in specialized inside the classroom and has also worked on private Learning Adventures for phonics, music and developmental creative play. With 5 years of gym experience she can help to achieve an enriched fun educational environment. Robin is goal driven and has a passion in helping others reach their milestone goals. She loves the great outdoors and hiking in the great Pacific Northwest. She is ready to help your child thrive!
Hailey Huff hails from California where she got her Bachelor's in Linguistics at University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been working with this community since she was 8 years old and does not ever plan on stopping. With a background in ABA Hailey's main teaching techniques incorporate mindfulness, structure, and most importantly laughter. She is currentlly working on her Master's in Library Sciences in hopes of creating more sensory friendly environments within public libraries. In her free-time she enjoys eating burritos, being outside with her dog Charlie the Chaweenie, & daydreaming about all her friends at Spectra!