Darren Michel (AKA Coach Darren),
Senior Director of Athletics
Darren Michel has been coaching children of all ages on the Upper West and Upper East Sides for the past 25 years. He studied finance at New York University, and after spending one year working on Wall Street, he realized his passion for working with children, and has being doing so ever since. Darren is the youngest of seven children, and was raised in a home where sports were omnipresent. He played many sports throughout high school and college, but he specializes in playing and teaching tennis and lacrosse. Darren has worked at the JCC since January 2002. He is currently the Senior Director of Athletics and also acts as the sports specialist for the Saul and Carol Zabar Nursery School and the 2’s Together program at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.
Mary Beth Roe,
Health Club + Athletics Operations Coordinator
Mary Beth, who initially joined the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in 2008 teaching summer tumbling classes, was a gymnast and cheerleader throughout her life. She began as a tumbling toddler and ended as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, where she cheered on the Orange basketball and football teams and competed in the UCA National Championships. After graduating in 2011 and working in a financial institution for one year, she decided to continue her love of gymnastics and working with children. She returned to the JCC in the fall of 2012 and became director in early 2013.
Andrea Bernardo (AKA Coach Andrea),
Andrea joined the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in 2007 as a part time gymnastics coach and became our Head Gymnastics Coach in 2013. Over the years, she has expanded her knowledge and interest of various sports and now also assists in sports classes throughout the week, including classes for children with special needs.
She has always loved fitness and gymnastics and has been involved in the sport for many years. She was a completive gymnast during high school, a college cheerleader at The College of Staten Island, and a circus acrobat after she graduated. To this day, she is still actively involved in various aerial arts. Outside of sports and aerial work, she acts in her local community theatre in Brooklyn, where she is currently a director for the Theater for Children department. Some of her favorite roles include: Peter (Peter Pan), Alice (Alice in Wonderland) and Rapunzel (Into the Woods).
Castelli Laflotte (AKA Coach Stelli),
Castelli Laflotte, aka "Coach Stelli" or "LeBron Jr," hails from Queens, NY and has a passion for engaging and inspiring people around him, especially youth through sports! Stelli is known for his charisma and charm on the court, and our littlest kids like to chase him around and guess his height. He started in 2015 first as a JCC lifeguard before moving into full-time athletic coaching. He specializes in basketball and all things fun! … and he's a big fan of LeBron, too (go figure).
A former pro basketball player, Shereef Taylor began honing young athletes’ skills as a coach at the JCC’s camp at Pearl River before working in our afterschool programs and eventually becoming a full-time athletics coach in September 2016. Majoring in both psychology and sociology at SUNY New Paltz, Shereef also played on the school’s basketball team for all four years of his college career. This football and basketball fan (Go Cavaliers!), Shereef, who grew up in both Poughkeepsie, NY, and South Orange, NJ, hopes to inspire, influence, and give back to youth and be remembered for generations to come.
A native of the Upper West Side, Michelle has always had an interest in learning and playing any sport she came across.
As a child, she played for an UWS basketball league and by high school she had become the MVP of her soccer team. As an adult, she continued to expand her athletic foundation and began playing professional women's football for the New York Sharks. In addition to land-based sports, Michelle is also quite the swimmer. She began her JCC tenure in 2007 in the aquatics department, first as a lifeguard and then as one of our instructors, which is where she discovered her love and passion for working with children. In 2018, after 11 years on the sixth floor, she went down a few flights to join the third-floor athletics team as a full-time coach, where she finds joy everyday from inspiring and coaching young athletes as they master new skills and gain confidence -- all while having fun!