Our Team

Ruth Gordon, Owner

When I was a child, I was not very athletic. In fact, I was typically the last person chosen for kickball at recess. Most recesses, you would find me by the school wall with my girlfriends, taking turns singing lead to the song, “Joy to the World” (ok, I have really dated myself!). My family was, however, very active: hiking, camping, swimming (most summers we would spend the entire day at the pool). Through my high school years, I participated in music and theater, but found there wasn’t much opportunity for girls’ sports.

Once in college, I was active in dance, music and theater, but was also feeling the need to explore other avenues of my physicality. I had taken up long-distance running to try to lose a little weight, when a friend convinced me to join the Cross Country team. I was hesitant, not ever competing in any sport in the past, but I did it and amazingly enough, I found I loved the challenge. At the same time, I was introduced to a new aerobic studio in town: the Body Asylum, where I began to take aerobic classes (now regularly called Group Exercise classes). I absolutely fell in LOVE with this new form of exercise! (Back then, it was so new and it was all about Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons!) After a couple of months the owner asked me to start teaching classes and I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I soon found that people enjoyed my classes because of my encouraging and motivating style, and especially because I liked to have fun! It was such a joy for me to watch the changes happening with my class participants and to know I was helping them to achieve a greater level of health and fitness.

After gaining the trust of my class participants, I would get numerous requests for me to help them on an individual level with their fitness needs, so the natural progression was for me to continue on my path of health and fitness education and become a personal trainer as well. 

In 2001, I discovered Pilates and it made my body feel amazing!! Not only was I able to stand and sit taller, but my flexibility and core improved substantially. Over the years I have taken Pilates apparatus courses from a number of schools (including Polestar Pilates) but ended up finishing my comprehensive with MindBody Workshop (now defunct) and going on to obtain my PMA (now NCPT) so that I could be a MBW master teacher.  Once they shut down, the demands of the business took over but I desperately wanted to be an educator and Polestar was always my favorite Pilates school.  So I took the leap in 2018 and decided to invest in their comprehensive so that I could become an educator.  I am so THRILLED to finally be part of the Polestar organization!! 

Over the years I have worked not only as a class instructor and trainer, but also as a Group Exercise Director and Fitness Director at numerous facilities and have mentored many new instructors and trainers just coming into the fitness industry. I have trained and taught so many wonderful individuals and I never get tired of helping others to discover the joy of movement.

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and gaining your trust and confidence in CORE!


Professional Background

  • In the Fitness Industry 20+ years
  • Educator – Polestar Pilates
  • Trained Professional, College & HS athletes
  • MindBody Workshop Pilates Master Trainer
  • YWCA Fitness Director
  • Fitness for Women Fitness Director
  • Mercy Center (Post cardiac-rehab facility) Fitness Director
  • Group Exercise Director- Gold’s Gym (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Group Exercise Director- Coca-Cola Fitness Consultant
  • Wrote for Senior’s Fitness column in local community newspaper (Bakersfield, CA)
  • Created and taught after-school program for kids “Fun with Fitness” at Rockledge Elementary, Woodbridge, VA
  • Fitness Presenter/Instructor for the Commonwealth Preventative Medicine Institute

Colleen Bonta

Colleen loves to share her love for physical fitness and to teach the importance of a healthy lifestyle. She became certified in Group Exercise and began her career specializing in working with the senior community. She brought her experience and expertise to CORE Personal Training and Pilates Studio in the fall of 2012 as a Pilates Mat and Apparatus Instructor after serving as Pilates Director for the local Sport & Health Club.

Colleen holds certifications with Balance Body, AEA, TRX, GRAVITY training. She is consistently promoting the importance of a healthy mind and body and strives to expand on her already long list of certifications. Colleen has the amazing and unique ability to work with a wide range of clients. Whether you are an experienced athlete, rehabilitation patient, a senior looking for increased mobility or a beginner needing motivation she posses the skills, knowledge and personality to help you achieve your goals. She feels very fortunate to be able to share her time between her family her church and her clients at CORE.

Kim Salzano

Kim was hooked on Pilates after taking her very first class. Early on in her practice she knew she wanted to share its amazing benefits with others and set out to learn all she could about this unique method of exercise that incorporated a harmonious combination of body, mind, and spirit. Nine years and two certifications later, she is still inspired by the method and is passionate about helping her clients experience the benefits of Pilates in their own bodies.

Kim has contemporary and classical certifications and her sessions are a fun mix of both styles. She has an eye for proper alignment, tailors sessions to suit her clients needs, delivers with creative cuing and will introduce you to muscles you didn’t know you had!

She is certified to work with clients of all levels and believes Pilates can be for everybody at whatever stage of life they are in. Kim believes Pilates can change lives for the better and is thrilled to be sharing it with the wonderful clients at CORE.

When she is not teaching, Kim is a perpetual student learning or taking workshops with masters in the industry. You can also find her hiking, camping, climbing, traveling, and spending time with her husband and three amazing children.

Shara Kantz

Shara practically grew up in gyms due to her mother who has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years. Shara loves to dance and was an avid lacrosse player throughout her childhood and college career. She had her heart set on being a “HOKIE” and studying aerospace engineering. It was during a fall semester at Virginia Tech that Shara realized life had other plans for her. At 19 years old, she became very ill and began her journey towards getting her health back.

After spending a long period of time studying nutrition and consulting with doctors, Shara finally regained her health and felt more powerful and stronger than ever. She discovered that in order to change herself physically, she had to start by bettering herself mentally. Throughout all of the setbacks and moments of discouragement, she had to keep repeating to herself not to give up and the only way to improve began with HER attitude and HER actions. This life-changing moment is what sparked Shara’s passion for health and fitness. She wanted to help others feel this same empowerment that one can accomplish ANYTHING with perseverance and most of all, trust and belief in oneself.

She began motivating others through group fitness classes, instructing formats such as kickboxing, yoga, pilates, bootcamp, and Bodypump. She is also a certified Personal Trainer with A.C.E. and currently studying kinesiology.

Monica Carlier

Monica was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and has lived in the United States since 2001.Monica’s fitness journey didn’t start until she had her first baby in 2007. “I never worried about my weight until I have kids” and the weight did not come off easily. It was then when she decided to give fitness and nutrition a chance.  Monica discovered a passion for fitness and loves to share that passion and knowledge.

She is a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, Mat Pilates certified , yoga, TRX, weight management certified among others. She is also starting her training in Pilates Reformer with Balanced Body and is one of CORE’s newest interns for the equipment work.

Monica’s philosophies are “everyday, I get to do something I love and make an impact on people’s lives” and “Motivation come from within, no one can hand it to you, but no one can take it away either”. She loves to eat fresh to nourish her body, mind and spirit. “Let food be your medicine”.

She enjoys many activities; especially anything she can do with her kids including rock climbing, rowing, Taekwondo, playing soccer or basketball (which she is really bad at). She loves to watch movies with the family and enjoy a cup of coffee with friends. Monica is a very proud martial arts student and is pursuing her black belt at Tae kwon do. A Tae kwon do quote She really likes:

“be kind, but fierce.

be gentle, but strong.

be humble, but powerful.

these are some of the traits of a true warrior”

Natasha Jones

Natasha has always been active and into sports since a young age. What she learned from sports went far beyond the mat, court, or field – they were lifelong lessons. Some of her greatest influences were her teachers and coaches. After graduating, one of her first jobs was working with students with severe disabilities. Seeing that there was always a need in the school system for occupational therapists, Natasha considered pursuing her passion for the freedom of movement by beginning studies to become an occupational therapist assistant.

Once playing sports wasn’t an option, Natasha signed up for her first gym membership,  not realizing this was going to be the beginning of a new chapter. She became intrigued with how the body moved and how adaptive it was. After realizing she could make her love for movement and fitness a living while going to school, she enrolled with the National Personal Training Institute, to get her personal training certification.

Since 2012, Natasha has been sharing her love of exercise and activity with the community and is a strong advocate for helping others be able to move easily and more comfortably. She has been able to train a variety of clients from post-rehab, pre-natal & postpartum, weight loss, athletes, children to the mature. When she’s not training she’s either at a sporting event cheering her kids on, enjoying the outdoors, doing community service, or looking up a delicious recipe for her husband to cook (he’s the chef of the house.)

Dagmar Kolarska Riddick

Dagmar is a certified Pilates Mat, Reformer & Apparatus Instructor by the Balanced Body University and certified thru Pilates Method Alliance, an internationally recognized Pilates certification. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor by Yogafit, and a certified Personal Trainer by the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America. In addition, she completed her training for Cancer Exercise Specialist thru the Cancer Exercise Training Institute.  She has also recently completed her certification as a NASM Nutrition Coach, enabling her to provide even more comprehensive guidance to her clients for a healthier lifestyle.

Originally, from the Czech Republic, she came to the United States to broaden her horizons and to seekthe wonderful opportunities that this country offers. Dagmar has always been interested in staying strong, healthy, and fit.

Her enjoyment of exercise led her to pursue a second career in the fitness industry. She has been physically fit her whole life, engaging in several sports, competing in club level track & field and later becoming an aerobics instructor.

Dagmar’s belief is that fitness is best achieved from working consistently with motivated instructors and trainers who deliver constant positive reinforcement and correction; however, none of this will be possible if you don’t first get up out of your chair. Your routine should include a variety of cardiovascular exercises, strength, flexibility and balance training. No workout should ever be the same all the time. Variety is the spice of life; that adage applies to fitness training as well. Whether you are seeking overall physical fitness, a better appearance, or more comfortable living, Dagmar can help you achieve your goals.


Dana Crow

Dana’s love of Pilates began 20 years ago when she was Ruth’s Pilates student. She regularly took classes and began to appreciate the toning, precision and
breathing associated with Pilates. She continued her practice from then on. Little did she know at that time, she would one day be working for Ruth!

Dana is passionate about fitness and incorporating toning, balance,
strengthening, breathing, wellness, and body awareness in her instruction.
Initially a teacher in the public schools, she was a stay-at-home mom for 19
years and began her “second career” in 2020 gaining certification in Reformer I
through Balanced Body. She also has prior certifications of AFAA Group Fitness
Instructor, Hoopnotica, and Silver Sneakers. She believes exercise and fitness
should be fun and part of a healthy lifestyle. Success is achieved through
commitment and practice.

She completed her Pilates Internship with Ruth in 2021 and recently completed the Balanced Body Reformer 2 certification. In addition to her work as a Pilates Instructor, she worked as an administrative assistant at CORE until January 2023. Her enthusiasm for Pilates and the CORE studio are evident in her interactions with clients and staff.

When she is not in the studio you can find her dancing, hiking, traveling, involved
in church ministry, and spending quality time with her family and 3 cats!

Jen Campbell

Jen first came to CORE as a client in 2013 doing Pilates & Yoga training before health problems interfered and pulled her away for several years. It was during these health struggles that she discovered the therapeutic power of yoga. Yoga was instrumental in both her physical recovery as she was learning how to walk again, as well as helping her cope mentally and emotionally through many challenges. In 2017 she decided to deepen her Yoga practice and embarked on her 200-hour yoga teacher training program, completing it that summer.
Having such direct experience with Yoga as a therapeutic tool has guided her to pursue more advanced trainings with the goal of one day becoming a Yoga Therapist. She recently completed her 300-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, certifying her as a 500-hour Yoga Teacher. She enjoys working with clients one-on-one, helping them experience the benefits of yoga for themselves.
Jen teaches a variety of classes, including Standing Flows, Gentle Flows, and her personal favorite, Restorative. Another important part of her healing process has been energy work, leading her to become a Usui Reiki Master and a Level 1 Healing Touch Practitioner. She especially loves to be able to incorporate Reiki energy with Restorative classes to help students fully relax and reset, finding deep healing within. 
Jen was excited to return to CORE, joining the team here as an Administrative Assistant in May 2021. Her role here has continued to expand and she now serves as our Administrative Manager. When she’s not at CORE, she enjoys baking (all gluten & soy-free), hiking, and spending time with her partner and their dog, Ringo.

Jennifer Kooyoomjian

Jennifer Kooyoomjian has been teaching yoga since 2010. Jennifer has a Master’s Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. While pursuing her undergraduate studies, Jennifer also earned a minor in dance and a concentration in Athletic Training. In her full time career, Jennifer works with at-risk youth here in Prince William County.

Jennifer teaches private indoor and outdoor yoga classes. She is also a certified barre above instructor and she shares her knowledge of barre and yoga with her students at Gold’s Gym, CORE and in private sessions. Jennifer is certified through YogaFit Training Systems to teach level 1 and level II yoga. Jennifer also has YogaFit specialty certifications in yoga for seniors, as well as pre-natal/post-partum yoga.

Jennifer teaches a vinyasa flow yoga class on Monday evenings at CORE. This class works with beginner to intermediate yoga students. Yoga helps to increase flexibility, strength, and balance, while reducing stress and increasing body awareness. 

Ann Medford

Meet Ann Medford, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, BS in Psychology – Texas State University

Ann has enjoyed the fitness world for her entire life, first playing team sports as a young child and then working out with her parents at a gym when she was 13 years old.  She began her professional career as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor in 2016 for Prince William County, where she is a resident, shortly after having her second child and working in healthcare.  Ann has current certifications in TRX, Spinning and Women’s Fitness (NASM).  She enjoys aiding people of all ages and abilities to reach their health, fitness and athletic goals while having fun and learning about their mind-body connection.  She teaches TRX, Water Jogging, Total Strength, Chair Strength and Spinning when she is not working one-on-one with clients.  When you cannot find Ann at one of our gyms, you can find her out for hikes & walks with her family, poolside, gardening, doing crossword puzzles or reading historical fiction.

Interested in Joining the CORE Team?

We are looking for certified Personal Trainers, Pilates, & Yoga Instructors. Please contact us today!