Coaches / Staff

Yelena Urusova - Head Coach

Gymnastics has been a part of Yelena's life since she was 9 years old. She started as a gymnast in the famous "Dynamo" club of Ukraine where she competed as an elite level gymnast and received the title "Master of Sport". Yelena took over leadership of Monarchs in 1994. During this time, Monarchs produced Sectional, State, Regional and National Champions. Yelena believes in a strong foundation in the basic skills of gymnastics and that hard work and dedication are the keys to a successful gymnastics career.


Connie Thornbury

Connie brings nearly 30 years of gymnastics experience to Monarchs Gymnastics! With Connie comes not only her USA Gymnastics Safety certification, but also a Fitness and Nutrition certificate from Roswell College and a USA Gymnastics Kinder Accreditation for Teachers (K.A.T.) certificate. She has been here at Monarchs specializing in Kinder Gym since 1995. Connie stays involved in the sport outside Monarchs by attending clinics to keep her teaching techniques updated and coaching for the Special Olympics. Connie loves seeing second generation students come to her classes and seeing how much of an impact she has had on families throughout the years. “Gymnastics gives children a great start in anything they do in life.” In her spare time Connie loves riding horses and can be found coordinating gymnastics for TV shows such as “Life Goes On” and “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated.” Just like many of the ladies here at Monarchs, Connie enjoys shopping at the mall. Wait, did you know that she was involved in the 1984 Olympics?


Toni Taubman

Toni grew up in West Los Angeles. She received a B.A. from UCLA and a Master’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University in Psychology. Initially, she was a behavior specialist for Developmentally Disabled children. Now, she enjoys managing the office at Monarchs. She is heavily involved in musical theater, loves seeing movies and is a huge fan of the Coffee Bean. Her two wonderful girls, Tiffany, a UCLA graduate and Whitney, currently at UC, Irvine, both started as toddlers with Coach Connie and were competitive gymnasts at Monarchs for many years as well!


Coach Nadia

Coach Nadia originally from the Ukraine loves teaching gymnastics to students of all ages and skill levels. She can be found coaching gymnasts as young as kinder, ranging from ages 18 months to 5 years, or as advanced as our green skill level. When not coaching, Nadia loves the ballet, decorating her apartment, going to movies, and reading books. Besides gymnastics, Nadia is an avid swimmer and used to do track and field. Her favorite shopping spot is the Monarchs gym shop where she is known for scooping up the latest in Monarchs apparel for women.


Drew Fouarge

Drew also a native of Oxnard, CA is competitive cheerleader and tumbler for California All Stars, a sport he fell into his junior year of high school. At Monarchs since 2006, Drew who is USAG Safety Certified, coaches all levels of tumbling from Basic to Velocity as well as Boys classes and Parkour/ Free Running. Drew says he loves “the friendship bond that I make with my students and others at the gym and seeing them improve.” You can find him at Monarchs on most Friday nights during our Parents Night Out program where his energy and enthusiasm is sure to make all the kids have a time they will never forget. When not coaching or competing he practices Parkour, writes and plays music, and hangs out with his friends. You might not have known that Drew went to the Jr. Olympics in Rollerhockey and on a world ranked cheer team! WOW!


Sergei Dmitriev

Sergei Dmitriev, originally from Minsk Belarus, studied at the University of Minnesota and majored in Biology, Society and Environment. He began gymnastics in Moscow at the age of 8 and went on to compete at the University of Minnesota, Big Ten Championship, and VISA Championship, he is also a four time NCAA competitor. His coaching career began in 2003 where his love of interacting with kids and watching them grow into gymnasts has brought him here to Monarchs. He enjoys spending time with family and friends and was also the recipient of the good citizen’s award!


Darcy Gale

Darcy grew up in Thousand Oaks, and got her gymnastics start right here at Monarchs when she was six years old. She was also a competitive gymnast for the original Monarchs Team before turning her attention to coaching gymnastics. Darcy graduated from CSU Northridge with a degree in Accounting and today runs her own business in addition to coaching recreational classes as well as Level 4 at Monarchs Newbury Park. She loves “helping kids develop potential and confidence they did not they had.” Darcy is Safety Certified and a Professional Member of the USAG. In her free time, Darcy enjoys cooking, working out, and watching her two daughters Alyssa and Corinne, both Elite Level gymnasts at Monarchs, compete.


Vadym Krasnenko

Vadym Krasnenko is a former gymnastics champion of Ukraine, Master of Sport winner, National Certified Judge, and National Coach. Originally from the Ukraine, he began gymnastics at age 5 and went on to achieve many awards including the Master of Sport in Gymnastics in 2005. He was on the Ukrainian National Team, where he was ranked in the top 8 Ukrainian gymnasts at both the Ukrainian Championships and Ukrainian Cup, and achieved high scores at international competitions throughout the Ukraine, Germany, and Austria. He holds a Bachelor’s and Diploma of Specialist in Gymnastics from the Institute of Pedagogy of Vladimira Vinichenka. He began his coaching career at the Regional Specialized School of Olympic Reserve “Nadiya” in Kirovograd, Ukraine in 2007, and became an Assistant Coach for the Urkainian National Team in 2009. He became a Certified Judge in Ukraine in 2009 judging National Championships until his departure to the US. In May 2011 Vadym began coaching for Monarchs, serving as Girl’s Competitive Team Coach in Newbury Park, with particular emphasis in vault, bars, and tumbling. Vadym is a professional member of USAG, USAG Safety Certified, USAG Background, USAG Instructor Certified, and First Aid Certified. In his free time, Vadym enjoys spending time with his wife and friends, going to the beach and barbequing!


KatiI McBride

Kati grew up right here in Thousand Oaks, CA, and is currently attending Thousand Oaks High School. She began gymnastics at the age of three and went on to become a Level 10 competitive gymnast at Nations Gymnastics in Corinth, Texas. Kati began coaching kinder, recreational, and cheerleading classes at Monarchs in 2007. She loves “watching and helping her kids work towards a skill and then finally getting it.” On her days off, Kati enjoys cheerleading on the Thousand Oaks High School Competition Team, going to the beach, shopping, and hanging out with friends. Our über stylish Kati loves shopping at Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Forever 21.


Amanda Spencer

Amanda Spencer was born and raised in Oak Park, CA. A Monarchs National Gymnastics Training Center Level 9 Competitive Gymnast and student of Yelena Urusova for many years, she began her gymnastics training at the tender age of five. She began coaching at Monarchs in 2001 working with Kinder, Tumbling, and Recreational Classes. Amanda loves working with kids and enjoys passing on her passion and knowledge of gymnastics onto them. She is USAG certified and knowledgeable in pre-school developmental ages. Amanda’s passion for health and fitness has parlayed into her own personal training business. She enjoys hiking on the beach and shopping in Santa Barbara.


Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones comes to us from Woodland hills and is a student at Van Nuys High School Medical Magnet. She has been doing gymnastics since she was 6 and began coaching gymnastics at 13 through Pierce College. She loves connecting with her students and motivating them to work as hard as they can and have fun. Her favorite stores are Gamestop and Tilly’s.