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Stephen is a young professional with an extensive and diverse coaching background. Son of Palaestra Gymnastics founder Kathy Needham, Stephen has 10​ years of coaching experience working with both boys and girls at all levels. His resume includes recreational and developmental gymnastics, as well as competitive Xcel, Junior Olympic and High School gymnastics.

From 2008-2013, Stephen was the Men’s Varsity Gymnastics Head Coach for Salem High School and the Assistant Coach to the Women’s Varsity and Junior Varsity Gymnastics Teams. During his time at SHS, Stephen’s success was evident, yielding multiple individual league and state champions and Team State Titles. While coaching at SHS, he secured a position at the highly respected Nancy Chippendales School of Dance as the Acrobatics Program Director for Nancy Chippendales School of Dance World Champions. Stephen trained their dancers in strength and flexibility, partner acrobatic stunts, and tumbling. In an effort to save Men’s High School gymnastics, Stephen started a men’s gymnastics team at Windham High School in 2012.

As Head Coach of the Xcel Program at Yellow Jackets Gymnastics Club, Stephen produced over 100 individual State Champions and 20 Regional Qualifiers between 2013-2016. His coaching facilitated multiple Team State Titles across all levels. Stephen’s involvement and dedication at Yellow Jackets newly established second location resulted in the club being awarded “Regional Gold Best Gym in the North Shore” in 2015 and 2016.

Stephen is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic coach with great spotting abilities and leadership skills. He is a true motivator and is very passionate about gymnastics, sports, and competition. He has a lifetime involvement in gymnastics as both an athlete and coach. Stephen is devoted to Palaestra’s philosophy and aims to “train, educate, and inspire” his athletes and students.


Kathy Needham founded Palaestra Gymnastic Academy in 1980. While working on her Bachelors Degree in Physical Education and Sports Medicine, she competed on the Boston State Colligate Team. Kathy has taught thousands of preschool, recreational, and competitive athletes over the past 30 years with great care, passion, and love for all of her students.

She is motivated to better herself and others. Her holistic approach to training, one of mind, body, and soul, provides an effective approach with valued results. From preschool to Competitive Team, Kathy believes one should train, educate, and inspire athletes from the inside out. She focuses on the students’ development in every skill and every event. Each event builds on each other in a gradual, continual, sequential order. True character building has always been Kathy’s first priority combined with a high level for excellence. It has been her winning combination when training athletes. Kathy’s ultimate long-term goal is to help with the development of a happy, thinking, and productive human beings in today’s society. Kathy has successfully trained generations of State, Regional, and National champions. Champions who develop into confident, self-reliant young adults long after the skills are gone.

The adventure that you and your athlete will embark on will last a lifetime!