Our Team

LA PALESTRA KIDS strives to bring the dedication of our co-founders, Pasquale and Deborah Manocchia, to every class at our multiple sites throughout New York City. Our staff of dedicated and experienced teachers brings their backgrounds in social work, early childhood education, physical education and exercise science into the classroom. 

DEBORAH YAMIN MANOCCHIA, M.A. M.S. LCSW - Executive Director -

Deborah has worked with underserved children and families in New York City for nearly two decades. She served as a clinician at Mount Sinai Department of Child Psychiatry as well as Programming Director at the Association to Benefit Children in East Harlem. During her tenure as a Programming Director at the Association to Benefit Children, Deborah saw the critical need for health and wellness education among the population being served by this community based organization. She sought to use her education and experience - both as a clinician and a parent – to design a new, integrated model for a community based program of physical activity, nutrition information, and socialization. Working with colleagues at organizations where she had previously established relationships, Deborah began to offer classes to early childhood education programs which utilized this new curriculum and delivery model. 

Deborah leads our team of professionals who bring more than two decades of education and experience in childcare, early childhood education, social work and direct service programs to LA PALESTRA KIDS. 

Pat Manocchia - CEO and Founder of LA PALESTRA

Center for Preventative Medicine - 

Master Trainer Certification Director​

Pat is the founder and C.E.O. of LA PALESTRA Center for Preventative Medicine Inc. With over twenty-nine years of experience in the health and fitness industry and nationally recognized as a leader in the field, he has made multiple television appearances on Fox News, CBS, CNN, The Food Network, and ABC as Good Morning America’s Fitness Expert. Both Pat and LA PALESTRA have appeared in numerous publications including: Men’s Health,  Harpers’ Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, GQ, Self, Shape, Men’s Journal, New York Magazine, Sports Illustrated as well as Allure and Conde Nast’s Sports for Women where he acted as a contributing editor.

He has authored and published peer reviewed research in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” and “Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise”, presenting those findings at the annual meetings of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Pat is a New York Times Best-Selling Author who has published 2 books; “Anatomy of Exercise”, an anatomical training guide published in 2008 (Firefly), and “Anatomy of Strength Training – The Five Essential Exercises” published in 2010 (Thunder Bay).

 

JILLIAN MCKIERNAN

- Program Director -

Jillian used her Bachelor’s degree in English to become a teacher in a corporate childcare center and to teach dance classes to children. Bringing her background in education to her love of fitness and exercise, Jillian teaches classes, works with the co-founders on continually updating and improving the curriculum, and is responsible for training new teachers who come to LA PALESTRA KIDS. 

TRICIA NARAINE

- Senior Teacher -

Tricia has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology and is presently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work. Utilizing the skills from her education and years as a childcare provider, Tricia helps LA PALESTRA KIDS meet the needs of our students and their caregivers.