Lynn Mcdonald
​Team Mind Skills Coach 
San Antonio Gym

​Gabriela Avilez
​Team Director/
​Co-Head Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Luie Villarreal
​Team Coach
San Antonio Gym



Heather's passion for gymnastics comes from growing up as a competitive gymnast, where she competed at the Junior Olympic level. She was recruited by the College of William and Mary before transferring to Trinity University, here in San Antonio. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from Trinity University. After eight years of serving as Head Coach for several gymnastics clubs, Heather opened Aerial Athletics. In 2007, she received the award for Texas Coach of the Year and Region III Coach of the Year. She was a member of the Texas Gymnastics State Board in 2014 and she is currently the coordinator for Region III camps and clinics. Heather has one son, Jackson.





Val brings over twenty-five years of business marketing experience to Aerial Athletics. Since 2006, Val has not only managed our busy office, but it has been with a friendly welcome and smile to every customer. On her shoulder is our gym buddy, Gracie, who loves to “motivate” the girls with a spirited chase and bark in the mornings. Val has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Parks and Recreation from Texas A&M University and is a professional member of USA Gymnastics.







Kaitlyn Tarjan has been passionately involved in competitive gymnastics since she was 5 years old, as a gymnast, coach and judge. Unfortunately, she had to retire from competitive gymnastics at the Junior Elite level due to a knee injury, but remains dedicated to gymnastics. Kaitlyn graduated from Texas State University in 2009 with a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science. She has coached for several gymnastics clubs around South Texas and she is now happy to call San Antonio home with her husband.






As USA and Canadian National team coach, Steve Arkell’s involvement in Gymnastics spans over 35 years. During that time Steve’s athletes qualified to 24 consecutive national championships, were members of both the USA and Canadian National teams, and the recipients of over 32 full collegiate scholarships. While in Canada, Steve was Head Coach at the national training center in Alberta, where he developed the 5 Canadian National Team gymnasts. Steve has been a keynote speaker and master clinician at many seminars throughout the World to include: Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and U.S. Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm that encourages athletes to rise to their potential.







Gaby began her gymnastics career in Mexico. In 1994, she began coaching and has not stopped since. In 2000, Gaby joined the Aerial Athletics coaching staff. After spending nine years on the East Coast coaching, she returned to Aerial Athletics in 2014. Throughout her time as a coach, she has helped many athletes earn college scholarships and successfully reach the Tops and Elite level. What Gaby loves most about her job is watching the life lessons that the athletes learn through the sport. In her free time, Gaby loves to spend time with her son, Nikko.







Erine is a native to San Antonio and has been involved in gymnastics throughout her life. She competed through Level 9 under Heather Schnelzer and has been coaching for six years. She is a patient coach who focuses on the fundamentals, providing all of the gymnasts a great foundation. She is currently going to school to become a Physical Therapy Assistant. Between coaching and school, Erine spends her time being a mother to two beautiful girls.








Cayla not only has 16 years of dance experience, but also has eight years of gymnastics coaching experience. She is currently working toward her degree in early childhood education. Cayla possesses a great passion for Aerial Athletics’ preschool and recreational programs. She is also a USAG member, CPR and safety certified. A fun fact about Cayla is that she cannot live without faith, family, and fruit!









Garrett joined the Aerial Athletics staff after relocating to San Antonio in 2015. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland UC with a Bachelor of Science in Humanities. With extensive coaching experience over the last 8 years, athletes under his instruction consistently excel in all events. In addition to coaching, Garrett is also a choreographer,USAG Meet Director, and USAG judge. Garrett is excited to be part of the Aerial Athletics staff and continue to work with our competitive athletes!    










Brenna was a gymnast for five years and danced at Earl Cobb Dance Studio for fourteen years. She was a high school varsity cheerleader, all-star cheerleader, NCA All-American for four years and an NCA national champion. Her love of cheer and gymnastics led her to coaching positions in both sports. She is USAG certified and is now working as part of the Aerial Athletics Office Staff. She is attending Northwest Vista in the pursuit of becoming an Elementary school teacher.












Tiffany, a San Antonio native, joined the Aerial Athletics staff in 2015. With over 13 years of dance experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge with her. At East Central High School, she served as dance team captain for two years and has years of training in dance studios as well. Tiffany loves working with the students; helping them gain new skills while making sure they are continuing to have fun!









Curtis, a military family member, was born in New York, but has spent the past several years in Texas. His gymnastics experience includes several years as a gymnast in addition to 2 years as the mascot at Midwestern State University. He also was on the step team in high school and served as captain for one year. Currently, Curtis is working towards his degree in kinesiology. He loves working with all our athletes and especially loves seeing his coaching affect the kids in a positive way!






Connor has been a part of the Aerial Athletics staff since 2015. Being from a military family, Conner has been able to experience life in several different locations such as New Mexico, Virginia, Europe, and now Texas. Beginning gymnastics at a young age, he now brings with him a wealth of experience and the motivation to lovingly push his students to meet their goals. He aspires to continually help people in any way he can both on and off the gym floor. Connor’s favorite movie is “Edge of Tomorrow”.








Rachel has been with Aerial Athletics since 2014. As a competitive gymnast herself, she trained for 12 years, reaching up to a level 9. With over 6 years of coaching experience, Rachel has coached all ages from preschool through competitive gymnastics team members and is a USAG Professional Member. She has a passion for the sport of gymnastics and loves getting to share it with kids each day! A 2015 graduate of Texas A&M – San Antonio, Rachel holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology Physical Education with a teaching certification and is CPR and First Aid certified. Her favorite quote is, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime”.









Ashleigh comes to Aerial Athletics from Arizona with extensive gymnastics, cheerleading, and dance experience. When she is not coaching, she can be found riding motocross, barrel racing, and horseback riding. As a coach, she focuses on making sure her students not only learn new skills, but also have fun in the process and she truly loves watching her students master the skills they have been working on. In the future, Ashleigh aspires to eventually become a trauma surgeon.









Anna has been involved with gymnastics her whole life. After representing the Polish National Team she received an athletic scholarship to Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. After graduating from college, she started her coaching career first in Illinois and later in Arizona where she coached for almost 10 years. Anna joined the Aerial Athletics staff in 2009 and she is really excited about being part of the amazing program here in San Antonio.







Braylen recently relocated to Texas from Utah where he was a volunteer coach for the Southern Utah University Gymnastics Team. He is a graduate of Southern Utah University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Human Performance with an emphasis in Exercise Science. For the last several years, Braylen has coached at various summer gymnastics camps including camps at Southern Utah University, Ball State University, and Camp Woodward in Pennsylvania. His favorite vacation spot is Hawaii and his favorite movie character tis Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.






Luie, a trained gymnast for over eight years, has been with Aerial Athletics since 2014. Originally from Del Rio, Texas, Luie brings with him his experience as a women's Junior Olympic coach for six years and a boys' gymnastics coach for five years. In his free time, Luie enjoys watching the television show, Duck Dynasty.








Amanda was a successful Level 10 competitive athlete at Aerial Athletics before she moved on to her collegiate career at Texas Women's University. Amanda went on to North Texas Univeristy to graduate with her bachelor's degree. Amanda is also a certified CrossFit instructor. She brings her love for children and healthy living to Aerial Athletics.








Lyn McDonald, M.A., "Coach Mac", has been working as a Mental Skills Coach for the past ten years. He completed his undergraduate work at Texas A&M University, where he played football and handball. His graduate work was done at Michigan State University and Trinity University in the fields of Sport and School Psychology. In addition to his Mental Skills work, he also works as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology in the public school system and also as a Psychological Associate in a private practice. Coach Mac works to help the gymnasts perform more consistently at their potential by utilizing tools such as imagery, mindfulness, pre-performance routines, scripts, effective goal-setting and other mental skills.







Dr. Wiernik is licensed clinical sport psychologist and a certified consultant with the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), the only credentialed worldwide certification program for sport psychology consultants. Also, Dr. Wiernik is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Sport Psychology and Mental Training Registry. This extensive training gives Dr. Wiernik a vast array of tools and expertise that can help athletes enhance their performance as well as assist with coping with injury, career/educational transitions, family concerns/communication, and athlete/personal identity development. Please visit www.texascenterforsportpsychology.com for more information.


Curtis Dawson
Recreational Coach/
Afterschool Coach
Schertz Gym

Tiffany Balderas
Afterschool Coach/
Recreational Coach
Schertz Gym

Braylen Strain
Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Sports Psychologists

Kaitlyn Tarjan
Gym Manager
Schertz Gym

Garrett Plaza
Recreational Director & Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Picture Coming Soon!

Amanda Walker
​Team Coach/Xcel Coach
San Antonio Gym

Aerial Athletics Staff 

Cayla Sanchez
Preschool & MDO Director/Recreational Coach
San Antonio Gym

Directors & Managers

Connor Griffin
​Recreational Coach/
Afterschool Coach
Schertz Gym

Rachel Kaufman
Team Coach/
Xcel Coach
Schertz Gym

Brenna Hernandez
Administrative Assistant/
​Special Events Coordinator
San Antonio Gym

Ashleigh Malko
​Recreational Coach
San Antonio & Schertz Gyms

Heather Schnelzer
​Owner

Anna Pawlak
​Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Erine Harley
Compulsory Team Director/
​Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Valerie & Gracie Oates
​Business Manager
San Antonio & Schertz Gyms

Front Desk Administrative Staff

Coaches 

Steve Arkell
Technical Director/
​Co-Head Team Coach
San Antonio Gym

Julie Wiernik
Team Sports Psychologist
​San Antonio Gym