Meet Our Staff
I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee. My family and I came to Waynesville by way of my 33-year career in the U.S. Army, with two assignments at Fort Leonard Wood (1989 – 1992) and (2005 – 2009). We returned here in 2005 after a 12-year absence. I retired here in September 2009 after 28 years of active duty as a Military Policeman and we decided to make Waynesville our home. My wife Melanie and I raised three daughters in Waynesville, so we have a personal appreciation for what the ARK offers – the premier community activity and fitness experience in Pulaski County. Melanie and I are the lead pastors of The River (church), which owns and operates the ARK Community and Sports Center as the hub of our outreach to the Waynesville/St. Robert/Fort Leonard Wood community, and Pulaski County.
It’s an absolute honor to be the Executive Director of the ARK and serve this great community. You have my personal pledge that we will go the extra mile everyday to provide you the safest, cleanest, most economical, and family-friendly place for you to gain and maintain your fitness, spirit, soul, and body; for families to celebrate special events such as birthdays, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations and family reunions; and for businesses to hold group meetings, conferences, and training. There simply is no other facility in Pulaski County that offers what the ARK does, and I make it my personal mission every day to continue to make it even better. If you’ve never visited The ARK, come by and see what a great experience you’re missing! I’ll be glad to give you a personal tour – see you soon!
– Howard Malone
Hey, I’m Christina Gordon! I’ve lived in the Waynesville area most of my life, and the longer I’m here, the more I fall in love with it! I’ve been passionate about The ARK and the vision behind it since it was still in the conception stages, especially the focus on kids programs. Since The ARK opened in 2011, I’ve been a volunteer and ARK staff member on and off, working in Kids Korner and helping out with kids programs during the summers. My passion is for children and youth and that includes any program related to them. I currently serve as the youth pastor for The River and now have the honor of working as the Operations Director of The ARK. My responsibility is to oversee day-to-day activities in facility. You’ll most likely see me around the building throughout the week, and I look forward to meeting you!
– Christina Gordon
Finance & Member Care Director
It is my pleasure to introduce myself, Jessica Spencer as the Finance & Member Care Director of the Ark Community & Sports Center and veteran of the US Army. My husband and I were relocated by the military to this area in 2008, where we raise our two children.
I graduated in 2012 with my Bachelors in Business Administration with Magna Cum Laude Honors from Drury University. In August of 2015, I received my MBA in Finance from the Breech School of Business. In addition, I am currently enrolled in the degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Accounting and Organization Leadership.
I started working at The ARK in 2012 as the Program Director and am currently serving as the Finance & Member Care Director. I find it so rewarding to meet people of all ages who come and go each week and benefit in some way because the ARK is here. From the young ones who come to play with friends, to the seniors who come to enjoy an activity and fellowship, to organizations and families coming in to plan their special gatherings, all are a blessing. It has also been a blessing to see all the volunteers who have given their time to make this a better place for people to enjoy. It takes a lot of work to keep up a facility like this. Being a Non-Profit means that we have to rely heavily on the dedication of volunteers and it is they who make a difference here. I hope that I can be a part of helping you become a part of The ARK’s family as well. You will soon discover why the Ark is more than a place to work out: It is a place to belong!
– Jessica D. Spencer
Health & Fitness Director
My mission as the Health and Fitness Director is help to bring a safe, fun, and supportive connection among members and instructors/trainers/staff. Group Fitness programs, personal training, and ﬁtness in general are important tools to help a person become healthy; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I love being able to help members achieve the conﬁdence in themselves, whether it’s the way they see themselves, how the physically look, or just becoming stronger. As my job as Health and Fitness Director I am able to connect with members and ﬁnd out what they personally like or don’t like in the ﬁtness department. Learning this information allows to me to help improve the areas of ﬁtness. Most importantly, I love to help the ARK continue to grow and become a better family friendly environment.
When I’m not sharing my love of ﬁtness with the ARK, I am at home with my wonderful husband and four beautiful children. I enjoy spending time outdoors, such as being on the river, hiking, and riding my bike. I also have a deep love for reading books. Fitness has been the one area in my life that has helped me become a stronger individual, wife, and mother. Fitness has helped me to not just be healthier and stronger, but help me have the conﬁdence in myself in all areas of my life. And I believe that this is what the ARK and instructors/trainers can bring to members as well.
– Carrie Tollison
Front Desk Coordinator
My name is Chelsea. I work at the front desk. I have been a part of The ARK since 2013. This place has become a second home to me and I consider the people here family! I absolutely love working here. Fitness has become a big part of my life and the instructors here are so motivating. I don’t know what I would do without this place!
– Chelsea Pugh
Kids Korner Coordinator
Hello! I was raised in this area and have been here most of my life. I served in the Army for 8 years and I am married and have 4 children. My whole family works and volunteers here. We love what the Ark does and are happy to be part of it. I started out as a volunteer 2013 and became an employee a year later. I started working in childcare and am now over Kids Korner. It is such a blessing to work with such great people, and awesome to get to meet so many new people every day.
– Crystal Hainline
Member Services Team
– Claudia West
Kid Korner Team
I’m the AmeriCorps Member Training Advisor in the Waynesville R-6 School District. Throughout the school year, I provide feedback, coaching, and training to Members both onsite and during group events. I have served as an AmeriCorps Member since 2011 at East Elementary. And I now serve in all buildings where I observe Members with students and provide them with feedback and interactive trainings. I’m a former educator and I taught elementary and secondary music, band, choir, and piano for 19 years in the Laquey R-V School district.
I’m also currently employed at the ARK Community and Sports Center where I work with children in the evenings in the Kids Korner room.
Children engage in individual and group games; arts and craft activities as well as educational activities to introduce and continue learning concepts taught in school. I also tutor students’ grades K-5 in reading and math on Saturdays at the ARK. As well, I teach beginning piano lessons and wind instrument lessons.
– Norma Houston
Hello, I’m Virginia Witcher. For a few years now, I have worked at The ARK. Starting in 2012, I worked here as a Custodian for about a year and a half. I also work at Daugherty Bowling Center as a cook and cashier. My first love is God and my second love in children. I also have always enjoyed meeting and fellowshipping with people. The ARK is truly a nice place to spend your leisure time relaxing or working out. My favorite class at the ARK is Zumba Gold on Thursday mornings from 7AM to 8AM. Our instructor Jacques is very dedicated and it is so much fun. We would love to see you there, especially since it’s a great way to start any day! I currently work in Kids Korner and am a shift leader at the Bowling Center on post. I find both jobs so rewarding, both in their own special way. I belong to New Beginnings Revival Center, which is a great time to meet new people. As well, it’s a wonderful place to worship and grow to greater heights in life.
– Virginia Witcher
Born in Tuscumbia, 43 young years ago, I have lived through trials and tribulations, which have led me to God and happiness. It took me getting married 3 times to find the one man I want to annoy for the rest of my life. And even though we have known each other for 23 years, it wasn’t till 2005 that we started dating and married in 2010. I have 3 young me of my own and 2 step sons that I wouldn’t trade in. Surrounded by boys, you can only imagine my joy when my daughter-in-law came into the picture 5 years ago. And she is carrying my first grand baby that is due in December! We moved to St. Robert in 2016 for my career change and I recently started working at The ARK this year. I’m a simple woman who still has a heart of a child. I especially enjoy the small things in life, like watching butterflies or walking on the beach. My goal is to live life every day with a smile and learn something new.
– Charisma Pippin
Hi I’m Rikki Dee Jensen, and even though I was not born in Missouri I call this place home. My family is from this area and I enjoy being close to them. I am married and have two wonderful children. Also, I enjoy volunteering for different activities and staying active, which is how I became a member of the Ark. I became a member when the facility first opened and started volunteering my time and transitioned to employment in 2014. Since then, I opened The Riverside Café in The ARK. I grew up in the restaurant and catering business and have loved getting to share my passion for cooking with everyone at The ARK. I enjoy the instructors, staff, and members and think it is a wonderful environment for my children and family.
– Rikki Jensen
I’m Jamie Hainline and I was raised here my whole life. I’m married to Crystal Hainline and we raise our four children. I run Nerf Wars which is on the fourth Friday of every month. It is awesome and the reason I work here. I enjoy working out an am very much a people person. I have been working here since 2016 and I’m looking forward to meeting you!