John Wilkerson was born in San Antonio, TX. He had a late start compared to most tennis players and did not pick up a racket until his senior year of high school. After winning district and state singles and doubles titles, he received a tennis scholarship to Prairie View A&M. John left college for the Airborne 8th Brigade, spending two and a half years in Germany. However, John knew the importance of education; he returned to Texas and graduated from TSU. Soon after, he found his passion of coaching and mentoring young people. He became the Tennis Director at MacGregor Park where he would eventually introduce Zina Garrison to tennis.
Yolanda Sadberry was born and raised in Houston, Texas. At the age of 10 she was introduced to the game of tennis. She spent many summers playing tennis at MacGregor Park under the instruction of John Wilkerson. Yolanda is a dedicated wife and mother of three daughters. She began her career working with children and their families at the Bertha Alyce Early Childhood School. Yolanda has 22 years of experience as a Navy Spouse and 2 years of experience as an appointed Navy Ombudsman for multiple platforms at the Naval Hospital Pensacola, FL. She assisted the Commanding Officer of the Naval Hospital Pensacola, acting as the liaison for over 600 families while their Military members were deployed. She continued her passion for working with Military Service members and their families, while working as an Assistant Office Manager for a nonprofit Debit Management Organization. Switching her career path to a more community-based environment, she obtained credentials as Lactation Consultant and has spent the last 10 years working with mothers and their families. Yolanda began volunteering for ZGA in 2015, a year later she came on board as Program Director.
Edward Gonzales is a husband and father of 2 boys. He began teaching tennis with the Zina Garrison Academy at its inception in 1993 and became a Certified Teaching Professional in 2001. During his time at ZGA, he have served as a Tennis Instructor, Assistant Director, Outreach Director, and NJTL/First Serve Director under the tutelage of Edgar Arnold and John Wilkerson. It was here where he developed and mastered the skill of creating a fun and positive healthy learning environment for children of all ages and backgrounds through the sport of tennis up until my departure in 2012 to focus more of my attention on his 2 children.
In April of 2012, he partnered with Pearland Parks and Recreation and founded his own Junior Tennis Academy where hundreds of children in the sport of tennis were introduced and developed, including his two boys, Tony and Dylan. Tony pursued tennis and is currently competing on the Prairie View A&M Tennis Team. Dylan, declined to continue playing tennis and is currently pursuing other interests.
It is his intention to utilize all of his years of experience to make a positive impact on the children here at ZGA and the surrounding community through focusing on Technique, Strategy, Effort, and Control.
“If a child cannot learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn” – Ignacio Estrada
Pharaoh is a USPTA certified professional, a former Mid-Atlantic ranked junior and native of Washington DC. He cultivated his game at the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation and earned a scholarship for tennis at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, NC. He has over 20 years of experience with all ages and skill levels. Pharaoh’s passion for developing junior players and is committed to helping them realize their potential on and off the tennis court.
Addison Aitch was born and raised in Houston, TX. He started at the Academy in 1999 at five years old. He is a 2018 graduate of the University of Houston. He is a mentor and ally to kids in the program and has a passion for pushing his players to the next level and a champion of education. He started coaching in 2015 for National Junior Tennis and Learning and transitioned to the Zina Garrison Academy in May of 2018.