Our Staff

Our staff members have spent many years devoted to pursuing excellence in their field and have attained a certain level of expertise to qualify them as instructors and trainers.
Through extensive training, certification and dedication, our staff has attained mastery in their fields and now enjoy sharing their skill and passing it on to the children, parents and new staff. Here are a few of Rolly Pollies' staff members who have created the Rolly Pollies' curriculum to maximize your learning experiences:

Martina Balke

Rolly Pollies’ Director of Movement Curriculum, Martina Balke Ed. D. provides twenty seven years of experience in movement and physical education. A resident of Annapolis, Martina earned her Doctorate degree in Physical Education Curriculum Development and Training from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City. For the last four years, Martina has been designing movement curricula for facilities throughout the world and teaching at an internationally known children's development center in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to this, she was a faculty member and researcher in the Department of Kinesiology at Towson University, a dance instructor at Chesapeake Dance Theatre and a physical education teacher in Connecticut and Germany. Martina is a native of Germany.

Stew Smith (Board Member)

Stew Smith is a Severna Park resident, living only a few blocks from the original Rolly Pollies. Stew has been apart of John and Joe’s journey to operate a children’s fitness business for a year prior to the Grand Opening. Stew is a former Navy Lieutenant SEAL who graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1991 with John and Joe. Stew resigned his commission in 1999 to start his own fitness and freelance writing business.

Fitness has been apart of Stew’s life throughout his childhood, high school, Naval Academy, Navy SEAL, and present life. He is actively involved with the Naval Academy Admissions recruiting programs and performs a military style workout with over 1,500 midshipmen candidates annually at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar program.

Stew has been labeled the Personal Trainer to the Heroes of Tomorrow and recently launched www.heroesoftomorrow.org. This site is a tribute to fallen heroes and assists future heroes training for any physical fitness test for military and law enforcement.

As a writer, he has been published in Sports Illustrated and contributes a weekly fitness column on www.military.com . The website (StewSmith.com) is a window to just about every type of training there is and the fitness business has been replicated on several major internet sites to include: Military.com, Navyseals.com, SEALstrike.com.

His published books can be found in major bookstores and online retailers. They include:
  • The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness
  • Maximum Fitness – The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Cross-training
  • The Bootcamp Workout
  • Common Sense Self Defense
  • The Special Operations Workout
  • The TV Watchers Workout
For more information about the Rolly Pollies International, Inc. staff or our programs, please contact us at 410-507-9554 or by clicking here.

John Mann

Co-Founder John Mann is a 1991 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1998 after 7 years of active duty in the Surface Warfare Community where he was stationed on 3 ships out of Hawaii and San Diego. The majority of his shipboard time was spent leading the most challenging divisions in Engineering, Damage Control and Main Propulsion. Prior to creating Rolly Pollies in 2002, John helped design and implement new computer systems and processes for E.spire Communications and he recruited high value programmers for System One Technical. USA Gymnastics Safety and KAT(Kinder Accreditation for Teachers) Certified.

Jennifer Garr

Director of Rolly Pollies’ Music Adventures program, Jennifer Garr provides 7 years of experience in designing and teaching multi-faceted music curriculums for early childhood programs. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Ithaca College with a major in Voice and a minor in Piano. She also has her Orff Certification, Level 1 from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and she trained at the Lincoln Center Institute, Julliard School New York, NY. As a music faculty member for the Peabody Preparatory of Johns Hopkins University for the last 3 years, Jennifer has been instructing and designing early childhood curriculums for children aged 2 months through 9 years old. Prior to Peabody, she was a music instructor at Chesapeake Academy, Arnold, MD; Southern Boulevard School, Chatham, NJ; Suburban Community Center, Murray Hill, NJ. She has also co-authored, Keyboard Explorations: A Beginning Piano Method for Young Children, instructed private piano lessons for the Chesapeake Academy, and taught musical theatre for Stageworkz in Severna Park, MD.

Alicia Drais-Parrillo

Alicia Drais-Parillo, Ph.D. is Rolly Pollies’ resident Early Childhood Development specialist and brings with her 9 years of experience in all areas of children’s development. She has a M.S. in Child Development and Family Studies, an M.A. in Elementary Education, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. She is a founding member of ABCees, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for under-privileged families so their children can attend day care, and has worked in Washington D.C. as a Day Care Center evaluator. Also, she works as a Research Associate for the Child Welfare League of America National Center for Research and Data where she is responsible for disseminating the latest research from all across the world to local communities and Universities. USA Gymnastics KAT (Kinder Accreditation for Teachers) Certified.
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Joe Dondero

Co-Founder Joe Dondero is a 1991 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Honorably discharged in 1997 after six years on active duty in the Surface Warfare Community, he spent four years onboard USS INGERSOLL (DD 990) and two years as an instructor at the US Naval Academy. In 1996, during his tour at the Naval Academy, he served as the Assistant Coach of the Severn High School Lacrosse team in Severna Park. After leaving the Navy, he founded Aspen Independent Landscaping in 1998 in Aspen, Colorado. After selling his company in 2000, he became Vice President for Client Services for a financial printing firm in New York City until mid-2001 when he started working on Rolly Pollies. USA Gymnastics Safety and KAT(Kinder Accreditation for Teachers) Certified.

Robin Webster

Rolly Pollies’ Creative Arts Program Director is Robin Webster. Rolly Pollies' Creative Arts Program Director is Robin Webster. Robin joins the Rolly Pollies team after spending 11 years at Hyattsville’s Greenwood Nursery School where she worked as an assistant teacher and head teacher. She has earned a B.S. degree in Family Studies at the University of Maryland and is a mother of 3 beautiful children.