Competitive Cheer Makes a Positive Difference.
We are passionate about competitive cheer because of the positive difference it makes in the lives of our athletes. ATA Cheer athletes learn discipline and responsibility in a positive environment that promotes teamwork and leadership.
Our athletes develop valuable relationships and treat the gym like a second home. We love seeing them grow in confidence because they are doing what they love in an environment in which they can thrive.
All of this comes from a shared set of core values within our ATA Cheer staff. We are devoted to delivering a great experience to you with a genuine spirit and a commitment to doing our part to help develop amazing people.
Our Core Values
ATA Cheer Staff
Matt Hodges, Owner
When he was younger, Matt competed as a gymnast for several years and has been coaching All Star cheer and tumbling since 1997.
Matt opened his own gym (Icon Allstars) in 2004 and merged with ATL in 2013 to create ATA. He is most proud of the relationships the gym has built with the athletes and the community and its growth from less than 60 Allstar athletes to the flourishing gym that ATA is today.
Before opening his gym, Matt was in the United States Marine Corps while also attending school and coaching part time.
As a coach at ATA, Matt enjoys working with the athletes, getting to know them, and seeing their skill and character progression from season to season.
Away from the gym, Matt likes to travel, cook, and enjoy outdoor activities.
Reed Jackson, Owner
Reed is the former owner of ATL Allstars. In 2013, Reed and Matt merged two successful programs into one! We became ATA with the Icon Blue as our gym colors!
Reed began his athletic career at a young age as a gymnast and eventually captured the state gymnastics title in 1989. During a successful career at Sequoya High School, Reed was a four year letterman in football, wrestling, track, and tennis. Reed attended Kennesaw State University. Since college, Reed has coached Optional Gymnastics for three years and has coached Allstar Cheerleading for 17 years.
During his coaching career, Reed has been instrumental in leading countless teams to national championship titles.
Reed resides in Gainesville, GA with his wife Stephanie and three daughters, Charli, Harper, and Finley.
Cody Shafer, Allstar Director
Cody cheered competitively for 3 years and has been coaching cheer for 15 years.
Some of his proudest moments are being part of a program that took all eligible teams to finals in their divisions, winning Cheersport over 10 times, and coaching teams that have received paid bids over 10 times.
Before joining ATA, Cody taught and trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu (martial arts) where he learned about the finer points of techniques, an experience that helped form the coach he is today.
Cody loves the ATA atmosphere and watching athletes’ efforts pay off as they build skills. He also treasures getting to witness their celebrations after an amazing performance.
When he’s not coaching, Cody enjoys learning and exploring new subjects (history, new discoveries, etc.), spending time with his Great Dane, ‘Maya’, and watching UFC and GA sports (Braves, Dawgs, and Falcons).
Emily Jones, Operations Manager and Coach
Emily competed in both Allstar and school cheer for 12 years and has been coaching cheer for 15 years.
Emily’s competition highlights include winning the college nationals as an athlete at Valdosta State in 2013 and later as a coach winning Summit in 2016, 2017, and 2021. One of her proudest moments is having all 5 teams she coached win Cheersport in 2019.
Emily’s coaching journey before joining ATA started in college when she began coaching Allstar cheer at a local Allstar gym. After coaching there for 7 years, she relocated back to the Atlanta area and came to coach at ATA so she could work with her former coaches where she used to cheer.
Emily values the bonds between the teams and staff at ATA and the inclusive spirit where all the teams support, not only their teammates, but the entire gym. She appreciates and takes pride in how hard the athletes work and their desire for success.
In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and their two dogs and watching scary movies with a good bowl of popcorn. She also likes to start puzzles (but doesn’t usually finish them).
Cassie Burns, Front Office Manager and Coach
Cassie cheered competitively for 7 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 18 years.
One of her most memorable moments is having won Cheersport with 2 of her teams in the same year after having coached for many years without a victory. She’s always proud when her team rebounds after they’ve struggled on their Day 1 performance and comes out strong on Day 2 ready to handle the pressure and work together to put on the best performance of the day. Her favorite thing is seeing the athletes come off stage after a great routine with so much pride and excitement and watching them work together to achieve their common goal.
Cassie knew Matt (owner of Icon) from tumbling when she was in middle and high school. She began coaching teams and tumbling classes for Matt at Icon shortly after graduating high school and moved to ATA in the merge.
Cassie loves coaching at ATA for the opportunies to have a positive impact on the athletes and watching them succeed and find their passion for the sport. She loves knowing that ATA can be a safe place for them when they may have had a tough day.
When she’s not coaching, Cassie enjoys spending time with her husband and their 1-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Carter Jo. Cassie loves spending Saturdays in the fall going to college football games and cheering on The Tide. She also enjoys going to Disney World.
Alexander Fernandez, Coach
Alexander cheered competitively for 8 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 27 years.
He takes pride in being part of introducing cheer into the 1996 Olympics opening ceremonies, becoming the first USASF world champions, and being a three-peat Summit champion.
Before he came to ATA, Alexander was the owner of the Miami Elite Allstar in Miami, Florida. He became a coach immediately after graduating high school and has been coaching ever since. In his travels to many gyms he always found ATA to be very strong and welcoming, so he chose join the ATA family.
The things he loves the most about coaching at ATA are the supportive families and the amazing athletes who are always eager to learn.
When not coaching, Alexander enjoys spending time with his family, relaxing, and hanging out with his son.
Michael Murphree, Coach
Michael, known as ‘Murph’, cheered competitively for 20 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 18 years.
He’s most proud of winning Worlds, watching seniors in high school live out their dream of making college programs after training them, and coaching athletes to multiple wins at NCA, UCA and Cheersport.
Murph has been coaching since he graduated high school at age 18. Throughout college, he coached with Reed at ATL Allstars, which became ATA Cheer.
Some of the things Murph values most at ATA are the trust ATA families have in the coaches to be mentors to their athletes, their competitive spirit that makes pushing teams toward success easier, and the closeknit community that is not only a gym but also a family where many athletes’ families and coaches are very close.
Murph spends his Saturdays rooting on the Dawgs as a UGA football season ticket holder. He’s also an avid golfer and likes to spend time by the pool with his wife and daughters.
Sarah Duggan, Coach
Sarah cheered competitively for 14 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 19 years.
Some of Sarah’s proudest moments are winning Cheersport and having an undefeated season then placing 3rd at Summit. She’s also proud to be part of the growth of ATA.
Sarah has always been in competitive sports, mostly cheer, but also gymnastics.
She loves coaching at ATA for the family atmosphere, the drive the young athletes have to succeed, and the supportive owners and co-workers.
When not at the cheer gym, Sarah loves taking care of her grandmother and her 12-year-old daughter, Madison. She has fun with dance parties and movie nights with family.
Cassidy Smith, Coach
Cassidy cheered competitively for 17 years and has been coaching cheerleading for 7 years.
Her proudest moments as an athlete were winning gold with Team USA All-girl in 2014 and 2015, winning State in high school (2008), and taking home the Bronze with Stingrays Electric in 2016 with only 3 months of practice.
Cassidy began her coaching career at Riverwatch Middle School, where she taught and coached cheerleading. From there she went on to coach competition and sideline at West Forsyth High School. Now at ATA, Cassidy enjoys coaching later evening practices so she can spend time at home with her two young children during the day.
Cassidy enjoys the supportive family atmosphere at ATA and appreciates how much the athletes love to be at the gym, respect the coaches, and remain coachable.
Cassidy loves spending quality time with her family, playing all types of games, and watching UGA football.
Ginger Kelley, Coach
Ginger cheered competitively for 12 years and has been coaching competitive cheer for 25 years. Her career highlights include winning Cheersport and earning a podium spot at Summit.
Ginger began coaching shortly after she started cheering in middle school and continued her coaching career at Pro Cheer until 2018, while working at the Department of Family and Children Services and then teaching High School SPED Math. She took a short break from teaching when she had her two children and resumed teaching, this time in kindergarten, when her children began kindergarten. She came to ATA in 2018 and continues teaching kindergarten while coaching.
At ATA, Ginger loves being part of a big family and making a positive impact on the young athletes, teaching them life lessons, and seeing their “aha” moments when they learn something new.
Ginger delights in spending time with her family and watching her son play soccer and golf, and her daughter tumble and learn new skills. She also loves traveling, playing tennis, and shopping.
Brittney Brown, Coach
Brittney cheered competitively for 12 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 6 years.
A few of her accomplishment include winning the first ever Southeast Regional Summit, snagging a top 3 finish at the Summit, and winning the 2022 U.S. Finals level champion challenge.
While earning her Bachelors in healthcare at the University of North Georgia, Brittney coached Allstar cheer at TKO. After graduating, she wasn’t ready to leave the cheerleading industry and was drawn to ATA for its competitive atmosphere of committed young athletes who saw the gym as their second home, a place to succeed and learn valuable life lessons. She knew ATA was a place where athletes and coaches could grow and reach their goals and where she’d have the opportunity to shape young athletes into amazing people.
As a coach at ATA, Brittney loves how hardworking all the athletes are and that they all love cheerleading as much as she does. She enjoys being able to help them create goals and appreciates that they strive to accomplish them.
Brittney likes to spend her free time binge watching her favorite tv shows, visiting with my friends and family, and going to concerts.
Lance Lee, Coach
Lance cheered competitively for 12 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 20 years.
He prizes being a Summit champion and a finalist in the World cheerleading championships as well as the unforgettable bonds formed along the way.
Before coming to ATA, Lance worked as a traveling choreographer and guest coach for many programs, working primarily in the cheer industry. He came to ATA because he wanted to be part of a growing and thriving program. He enjoys working with fellow coaches at ATA and watching the athletes’ progress.
Lance pours a lot of energy into his coaching, so he likes to spend his downtime focusing on rest and relaxation. He also enjoys traveling, cooking, and shopping.
William Fernandez, Coach
William has cheered competitively for 20 years and has been coaching for 16 years.
He is most proud of getting to teach what he has learned over his many years of cheer experience and loves seeing the athletes grow and advance their skill levels from year to year. He also treasures the opportunity to teach their youngest son the sport that he and his wife love so much.
William discovered and fell in love with cheerleading in 1996 and has been in the industry ever since. Before joining ATA, he coached at Miami Elite Allstars and assisted in opening two other gyms, Cheer Revolution and Centerstage Cheer and Dance.
Before moving to Georgia, he also coached tumbling and stunting and assisted with routine choreography at Dade Christian School in Miami, Florida. Alongside his coaching career, William has a career in the electrical field and is raising three amazing boys.
In August of 2022, William and his wife visited and fell in love with ATA Cheer and decided to continue their cheer careers with the gym. William loves working with his team at ATA and being able to lead classes as well as private lessons.
In his free time, William enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, mountain biking, and being on the water at the lake or the beach.
Nam Nguyenvu, Coach
Nam cheered competitively for 14 years and has been coaching cheerleading for 10 years.
His proudest moments include winning Cheersport Nationals, having all the teams he was coaching make Summit Finals, and winning Bronze at the Cheerleading Worlds as an athlete.
Before coming to ATA, Nam coached at several high schools and Allstar programs, winning many nationals. The things he enjoys most about working with ATA are the athletes, coaches, and positive environment.
When he’s not coaching, Nam enjoys going out for brunch, spending time with his German shepherd and French bulldog ‘Kona’ and ‘Kylie’, and traveling.
Karen Vialpando, Coach
Karen cheered competitively for 7 and a half years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 15 years.
She treasures her time cheering at Florida State, seeing her daughter’s face when she won her first competition, and the bonds and friendships she has made with athletes and their families over the years.
Karen works full time in event marketing but shares an equal passion for the world of competitive cheer. When her oldest daughter wanted to do all stars, she got back into coaching. They started at a smaller D2 gym where she coached while her daughter cheered.
Since coming to ATA, Karen has grown to love the coaches and athletes and the family feel. She’s inspired to be part of such a competitive and successful program with driven athletes who work hard in and out of practice, striving to improve every day.
When away from work and the gym, Karen loves to spend time with her daughters and go on adventures with them. She enjoys CrossFit and staying active as well as visiting a good coffee shop.
Zahnya Conner, Coach
Zahnya cheered competitively for 12 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 2 years.
She prizes having won Summit, having coached an undefeated team, and being able to cheer one more time.
Before joining ATA, Zahnya worked as a private baker and continues her baking career while coaching all stars at ATA. Zahnya enjoys being part of ATA because it allows her to coach the sport she loves, grow as a coach, and work with dedicated athletes.
In her free time she enjoys baking, going out to eat at nice restaurants, and vacationing.
Ashley Colyer, Coach
Ashley cheered competitively for 7 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 16 years.
Prized moments for Ashley are winning NCA Nationals in Dallas, TX, making it to finals at Summit multiple times, and seeing the progress and success of teams and individual athletes.
Ashley began coaching part time when she was in college for the Impact All Stars cheer program in North Carolina. Since then, she’s worked while coaching part time at various programs (Carolina Legacy, Future Extreme, Atlanta Jayhawks, Rockstar Cheer Raleigh, and Inspire Athletics).
While working as a legal assistant for a NC real estate attorney, Ashley realized she wanted a career where she could pursue her passion of coaching full time, so she decided to move to Georgia and coach at ATA Cheer.
Ashley loves the positive environment and fun energy at ATA and appreciates that the staff cares about all athletes at all levels. She’s inspired to work with athletes who train hard to achieve their goals and truly love cheerleading.
In her free time, Ashley likes hanging out with her dog, ‘Ryleigh’, doing CrossFit and working out, and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Liz Haswell, Coach
Liz cheered competitively for 10 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 15 years.
She is proudest of winning the Summit championship and Cheersport, and watching the athletes grow in the sport she’s so passionate about. The most rewarding experience for her as coach is being a part of the young athletes’ lives.
Liz came to ATA following a coaching career in North Carolina at an allstar cheer gym her parents opened in 2002 (Elite Cheer Dance, which became Rockstar Raleigh in 2015). She helped the program win national and local titles and attending the cheerleading Worlds and the Summit. After her parents retired in 2018, Liz started working at Inspire Athletics in Cary, North Carolina.
To grow personally and as a coach, Liz decided she needed a change of scenery and sought out a program whose teams she had been admiring for years, ATA Cheer.
Liz has been very happy with her life change and becoming part of the ATA family. She loves working with the welcoming and professional owners and staff and appreciates that the athletes are all trained the same.
In her free time, Liz loves trying new restaurants, being by the pool, and watching scary movies.
Spencer Gist, Coach
Spencer cheered competitively for 10 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 8 years.
Spencer’s career highlights include winning four college national championships, being a 6-time Worlds contender and coaching two Summit finalist teams.
Spencer’s journey before ATA started as a car salesman (4 years) before attending the University of West Georgia where he competed on the cheer team and coached at a local cheer gym on the side.
After graduation, he coached in Dawsonville for a year until the owners retired and closed the gym. When ATA called to discuss his future a short time after, he didn’t hesitate in his decision to return to his home gym where he fell in love with the sport and had so many great connections and former coaches.
At ATA, Spencer values the athletes’ hard work and dedication, the parents commitment to supporting the coaches and encouraging the athletes, and especially the bond and teamwork among the gym staff.
In his leisure time, Spencer enjoys going to Halcyon, downtown Alpharetta, and dog parks with his fiancée, Haley, and their dog, ‘Koda’. He also loves hanging out with friends and family, and researching and investing in stocks and crypto currency.
Kim Carter, Coach
Kim began her cheer career heading up the Junior War Eagle program for 7 years. Kim is in Special Education for Hall County School System. She has spent the last 9 years as an all star coach and a cheerability coach for three years at the TKO program. Kim led her Prep teams to 5 consecutive US FINAL Gold Bids. In 2021 she won Southeast Regional Summit. Her goals as a coach are not only to teach proper skills and training but building a strong relationship and love for cheer with all of her athletes she is around.
Kim cheered competitively for 2 years and tumbled for 3 years. She has been coaching for 16 years.
Among her career accomplishments, Kim prizes letting the athletes know they are loved and worthy no matter the outcome of their performance. She loves seeing their self confidence grow and sharing in the proud moments with her teams winning regional, Summit, Cheersport, and U.S. Finals.
Before coaching at ATA, Kim worked in the school system for 16 years (with 7 years in Special Education) and as a master cosmetologist for 17 years. When she started her coaching career, she was the president of the Jr. War Eagle cheer program (over 100 athletes) for 10 yrs. She then transitioned to coaching Allstar cheer at Tko Allstars for 9 years until the business closed.
Now at ATA, Kim loves being part of an environment where the owners lead by example with compassion and appreciation for their staff and athletes. She is also inspired by the athletes’ passion and drive to be better and their love for cheerleading. She values the relationships she builds with the athletes as she coaches them toward correct techniques.
One of her favorite things to do is spend time with her family and their dog, ‘Bear’. She also loves to be outdoors and go on hiking trips.
De’kiera Olreidge, Coach
De’kiera has cheered competitively for 12 years and has been coaching for 9 years.
Some of her biggest accomplishments are winning the U.S. Finals and leading teams to multiple rings. She treasures seeing the athletes thrive, advance, bond together and become top competitors at every level.
In her career before joining ATA De’kiera earned her cosmetology license and worked as a full-time cosmetologist. Cheer has held a special place in her heart since she began cheering at age 8. When her mother (a former ATA coach) recommended her to the gym, she was excited for the transition to coach.
De’kiera loves the welcoming ATA atmosphere where athletes and parents immediately feel part of the family. She’s inspired to work with the enthusiastic young athletes who come to the gym ready to learn and enjoys watching them develop leadership qualities that equip them for success throughout their lives.
In addition to coaching, De’kiera loves being a mom and spending time with her new baby girl, shopping for fashion that fits her style, and trying new restaurants.
Nicolas Charles, Coach
Bio coming soon.
Maiza Fernandez, Coach
Maiza has been cheering competitively for 12 years and has been coaching competitive cheerleading for 5 years. She currently works as a full-time hairstylist at Muse Salon in John’s Creek and also owns her own business back in Miami, where she regularly visits her clients. Cheer has always been a passion for Maiza, and she is excited to have two careers that she absolutely loves.
Since recently moving to a new state, ATA has provided Maiza with the opportunity to meet new people and become part of a cheer family. She feels that ATA has welcomed her with open arms.
Maiza’s career highlights include winning a National title, earning All-American for NC, and seeing the looks on her athletes’ faces when their hard work has paid off.
In her leisure time, Maiza enjoys hanging out with family and friends, attending sporting events (especially baseball), and relaxing.