Staff and Instructor’s Bios

Instructors and Always Active Staff. November 10, 2023

STAFF

Genny Pinzon,
Health Promotion Program Manager

“If you want to travel fast go alone, if you want to travel far go together” African Proverb.

Genny began her career as an instructor in 2010. She started by teaching Zumba Gold to older adults and fell in love with the possibility that she had to impact their lives through movement.

She oversees the Always Active program, which includes multi-component exercise classes that incorporate joint mobility, strength, cardio and flexibility, as well as, a Fall Prevention 12-week program. For her it is rewarding and powerful to see participants who could not move well, regain their independence, build a community and continue to live their lives to their full capacity.

Certifications: Functional Aging Group Exercise Specialist 2024, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist 2023, NASM Personal Trainer 2021, AFAA Personal trainer 2017, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor 2015, Zumba instructor since 2010, Licensed to teach, Strong by Zumba®, Zumba® Toning, Aqua Zumba®, Zumba Sentao®, Zumba Gold®, Zumba® Kids & Kids Jr., Zumba® Step, Zumba in Circuit. AED/CPR certified.

Luz Ibarra,
Always Active Program Specialist and Instructor

Luz has 18 years of experience in Modified Exercise and Functional Restoration, specializing in seniors and individuals with injuries or disabilities. For the past decade, she’s served as a Health Promotion Program Specialist at On Lok. Prior to this, she spent 8 years as a medical interpreter for the Latino community. Her roles involved supporting individuals throughout their recovery journey, from diagnosis to physical therapy. Luz emphasizes a holistic approach to wellness, integrating nutrition, exercise, social engagement, and education. With a background in Nutrition, she advocates for leveraging various aspects of daily life to enhance wellness and longevity at any age.

“San Francisco is my hometown and I am honored to be able to serve its communities.”

Certifications: Nutrition, Yoga, Senior Fitness, Tai-Chi, Group Exercise, Functional Aging Specialist, Personal Training, CPR/AED/First Aid

Diana Lara,
Health Promotion Program Specialist and Instructor

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop”. –Rumi

Diana Lara, a dancer, performer, and educator, began her ballet journey at age 8 in Honduras. She later studied contemporary dance in Mexico for 15 years, graduating from the choreography program at the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts in 2003. With 20 years of experience, she teaches dance and somatic classes in both English and Spanish to diverse populations, including older adults, professional dancers, and survivors of domestic violence and trauma. Diana’s passion lies in enhancing body awareness, coordination, and balance, fostering comfort in movement. Currently pursuing a master’s in Kinesiology at San Francisco State University, she resides in San Francisco, enjoying nature walks with her husband and dog, Tino.

Certifications: M.S. in Kinesiology with emphasis in Movement Science from San Francisco State University, M.S. in population and health from Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, 200-hour yoga certification, Body-Mind Centering®  certification on Developmental movement and yoga, certification on tai-chi for arthritis and fall prevention from the Tai-chi for Health Institute,  group exercise leader by the Functional Aging institute, CPR/AED. Visit: www.dianalara-somatics.com 

Sue Mittelman,
Always Active Regional Coordinator and Instructor

Inspired by her mother’s battle with severe osteoporosis, Sue sought to assist seniors in maintaining fitness and active lifestyles. Serendipitously, she found an opportunity to volunteer with the Always Active program, which provided training. Under the guidance of Dr. Christian Thompson (USF) and Jim Spinelli, she learned to lead group strength and flexibility classes, with additional training in Fall Prevention. Now, after nine years, Sue serves as a regional coordinator and exercise leader at the Aquatic Park Senior Center and the Always Active Program, supporting seniors in their fitness journeys for the past seven years.

Certifications: Certified through the American Senior Fitness Association and the Functional Aging Institute. 

Christian J. Thompson,
Fall Prevention Program Director

“If it is to be, it is up to me” – Frank H.T. Rhodes

Dr. Chris is an Associate Professor at the Kinesiology Department at University of San Francisco. He has been teaching with Always Active since its inception in 2007, and he created the Fall Prevention Program that is offered at 30th Street Senior Center and Aquatic Park Senior Center.  Reducing fall risk and improving fitness in older adults is his career passion.

Certifications: Ph.D. in Kinesiology

INSTRUCTORS

Susan Sullivan,
Fall Prevention Program Instructor

Susan has been teaching fitness for over 17 years and works as a personal trainer and group fitness leader.  Prior to her work in fitness, Susan danced professionally for many years & still occasionally performs. Movement has been her life for 50 years, and she loves to inspire others to experience health & fitness.

Certifications:  She holds certifications in personal training, senior fitness, yoga & Pilates. Certified ukulele teacher for seniors in San Francisco and Emeryville. ACSM Exercise Physiologist Certified. FAI Functional Aging Specialist. Professional Modern Dancer.

Ann Rieger-Matthews,
Always Active Instructor

“The effort and dedication you put in toward self-improvement today, will provide the needed strength you must have to be successful tomorrow.”

Ann’s teaching journey began years ago as a ski instructor. In 2013, she joined the Always Active program as an assistant. Ann completed her American Senior Fitness Association training in 2014 and Functional Aging Institute training in 2017. Passionate about enhancing balance, range of motion, and strength in adults, she has crafted programs for both youth and seniors and has experience working with Alzheimer’s and M.S. patients. Thrilled to be part of Always Active, Ann is delighted to assist students in improving their health and functional abilities.

Tiffany Huynh,
Always Active Instructor

Tiffany likes to teach older adults to make them healthier, stronger and happier – that is her goal. When she sees them move and smile it gives her energy, it makes herself healthier too!

Functional Aging Group Exercise Specialist 2024

Jackie Wise,
Always Active/Fall Prevention Instructor

Jackie was born and raised in sunny San Diego and relocated to Sacramento after living in San Francisco for 27 years. At 40, she realized that life isn’t about perfection; it’s about progress. The progress of growing and turning challenges into learning opportunities and being empowered by what one does. For her, this progress was rekindled when she resumed an active lifestyle. She began her second act, working at a women’s fitness center in my Outer Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco, CA. Before long, she was teaching circuit classes and managing the gym. She discovered Zumba Fitness in 2007 and was hooked. She instantly fell in love with the music and knew this is what she was looking for.

Certifications: AEA: Aquatic Fitness Professional and Group Fitness Instructor, FAI: Aging Group Exercise Specialist, SCW: Personal Trainer, Ballet Barre Fitness, Foam Rolling Certification, Pilates Matwork and S.E.A.T. ACE IFT Model: Personal Training Program Design, Zumba Fitness: Zumba® Basic 1 and Basic 2, Zumba® Toning, Zumba® Gold Toning Aqua Zumba®, Zumba Sentao®, Zumba Gold®, Zumba® Kids & Kids Jr., Zumba® Step, Zumba in Circuit, Circle Mobility,  CPR PRO/AED/First Aid Certified 

Eva Li,
Always Active Instructor

Eva has taught Always Active since 2019. She enjoys teaching Always Active because she gets to meet many seniors during each class and enjoys seeing their smiles.  She has noticed the elderly population need more health knowledge, and she was fortunate to participate in Self-Help for the elderly (Department of Nutrition) where she helps seniors to learn about nutrition and health exercises.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Linda,
Always Active Instructor

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi

Linda has been instructing the Always Active Exercise Class for over a decade. Being a senior herself, she finds teaching this class beneficial for her own well-being. She firmly believes that in Always Active classes, seniors not only make friends but also enjoy the class, thus avoiding isolation.