Wellness Studio Instructors

The Wellness Studio at UW Health at The American Center offers a wide range of movement classes that promote a holistic approach to health and well-being.


Meet our instructors:


Dianné Jean Aldrich


Instructor Dianné Aldrich

Dianné Aldrich is an Integrated Wellness Expert with more than 30 years of experience. She has a dynamic background in the healing arts and enjoys sharing her passion and expertise with a wide audience.


She is an international performer and taught dance in New York City for more than 14 years and now owns and runs her own business, 4Pillars4Health EcoSpace, LLC, an integrated wellness, dance, yoga, qigong and pilates studio in Monona.


Those who work with her can anticipate a genuine connection from the heart, a precision approach to assessing and correcting inefficient structural and neuromuscular habits, and improved overall well-being. She is masterful at creating sacred space for peace, healing and spiritual growth.


Dianné's classes: Core and Restore  •  Meditation in Motion •  Dance for Health


Deidre Buckingam


Instructor Deidre Buckingham

As an advocate for living large and self-acceptance, Deidre uses her training as a massage therapist, physical therapist and yoga instructor to help others find the best in themselves. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training in Alignment Yoga and holds a Curvy Yoga certification. Through her practice and teaching of yoga, she brings a deeper understanding of the core, breath and body alignment and their contribution to wellness and vitality.


Jess Clark


Instructor Jess Clark

Jess Clark is a long-time yogi who loves sharing the transformative power of yoga with her students. She is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and a certified Unnata Aerial Yoga Teacher.


Her yoga classes focus on individualizing the practice for each students' needs, strengthening the mind-body connection through breath, and finding joy and ease in the physical postures. When not teaching yoga and aerial yoga, Jess enjoys spending time outside with her family, taking care of her backyard farm, and dancing through the air as an aerial dancer right here in Madison.


Jess' classes: Aerial Fitness • Aerial Yoga • Therapeutic Yoga


Nikki Cook


Instructor Nikki Cook

Nikki is a 500 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher and has a Masters Degree in Education-Counseling. She specializes in therapeutic yoga, body positive and accessible yoga. Nikki believes yoga truly is a practice that is for every body. She creates classes that allow you to meet yourself where you are, at any given moment, taking what you need from the practice. In Nikki’s classes you will find a welcoming, supportive community where you are encouraged and free to be your authentic self.


Nikki's classes: Aerial Yoga • Restorative Yoga


Kate Hemesath


Instructor Kate Hemesath

Kate Hemesath joins the Center for Wellness at The American Center as a fitness supervisor, personal trainer, and group fitness instructor. Kate holds her bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Science and Psychology and is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine.


Kate has been working for UW Health for three years and has transferred into her new role at The American Center from UW Health Research Park Sports Medicine Center where she oversaw operations in the aquatics center and worked with various populations in the fitness center. Kate also has years of experience working as an exercise specialist with a variety of clientele and patients at Midwest Medical Center.


Throughout her career in the wellness field, Kate has acquired an experienced skill set necessary to work with people of all ages and ability levels. She believes whole-heartedly that fitness is a lifestyle and that it is ever evolving as with anything else in life. Kate aims to educate clients, help them obtain positive behavior change, and create lifelong healthy habits.



Katie Heiser


Instructor Katie Heiser

Katie Heiser is the Fitness Coordinator of aquatics at UW Health at The American Center. She has a background in aquatics and has enjoyed coaching and teaching swimming for 30 years. She started training on TRX in 2008 and has truly enjoyed sharing the strengths and challenges of the straps since then.


Every TRX class is different, focusing on core strength, balance and some cardio. Katie’s favorite part of teaching is encouraging her students to challenge themselves. Her goal is to have each student finish the class feeling strong and proud of themselves, leaving the Wellness Studio with a smile on their face.


Katie's class: TRX Complete


Timothy Lee


Wellness instructor Timothy Lee

Timothy Lee is an avid martial artist who is inspired by all facets of healing arts. He specializes in corrective exercise, performance enhancement, movement neurology, nutrition and weight loss.

Tim has a bachelor's degree in Holistic Health Science and is completing his master's degree and doctorate in Natural Medicine. His passion is in healing with energy, movement and intent by leading a healthy, active lifestyle. Tim strives to bring out the best in people and help them discover their potential in each of his sessions.


Tim's classes: Movement Essentials • Personal Training


Iris Mickey


Instructor Iris Mickey

Iris Mickey is a Certified Yoga Therapist with more than 2,000 hours of advanced training in Yoga. Iris brings years of experience and personal practice to her teaching and is passionate about helping others learn techniques to help themselves.


She offers the practices of Yoga Nidra and Hatha Yoga in a down-to-earth, accessible style. She owns and operates Synergy Therapeutic yoga and offers one-on-one therapeutic yoga, as well as other group classes.


Iris' class: Yoga for Back Care


Meg Miller


Instructor Meg Miller

Meg Miller is a certified yoga and pilates instructor who is passionate about bringing mind-body movement to students for more than a decade. She teaches with a non-intimidating and playful style and creates an environment for every student to feel comfortable. In pilates we work to ignite the core and incorporate our movement with the breath. You will leave class feeling stronger and taller, with a greater awareness of your breath and body. Classes are always taught with each individual student's unique body in mind, including modifications and moderation.


Meg loves to introduce students to a yoga practice that incorporates an aerial silk as an additional prop. The silk provides support for students to explore feeling weightless, playful and free. Whether you want to fly or experience the deep relaxation of shavasana in the silk, aerial yoga has something for everyone.


Katie Schwartz


Instructor Katie Schwartz

Katie Schwartz is the Fitness Coordinator at UW Health at The American Center. As a Certified Wellcoach and Kripalu Yoga Instructor with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she brings a well-rounded perspective to health and well-being. She has been practicing yoga for more than half her life and has been teaching yoga since 2006.


She is passionate about sharing her love for yoga with others. Her classes explore deep breathing, mindful-movement and alignment principles that create and support solid physical foundation. Class focuses on building strength, balance and flexibility. She teaches to a diverse group of people and offers various modifications for those with limitations.


Katie's classes: Kripalu Yoga • Strength and Flexibility • Mindful Yoga • Health Coaching


Jenny Wallskog


Instructor Jenny Wallskog

Jenny Wallskog has always been drawn to physical activity and exercise as a child, teenager and adult, ranging from rigorous organized sports, to outdoor adventures, and now to more gentle exercise. With her strong interest in movement, it comes as no surprise that she has had a 30-year career in physical therapy in Madison. Over the past several years, She has become fascinated and encouraged by the new neuroscience research and strategies to treat persistent pain in the physical therapy realm. During this same time, she also began learning Tai Chi, an ancient, Eastern mind-body health practice. As her Tai Chi skills and understanding developed, she began teaching older adult fall prevention classes utilizing Tai Chi movements two years ago and last year began teaching a class for people with persistent using education and Tai Chi movements through Madison School and Community Recreation. The positive outcomes and high participant satisfaction of combining Eastern and Western practices have been extremely gratifying and motivating.


Valerie Heslink


Instructor Valerie Heslink

When I enrolled in yoga teacher training, I was unsure whether I would teach yoga. My intention was to learn more about the shifts and experiences in my yoga practice and deepen them further in my bigger body. What I discovered along the way is a passion to make yoga accessible to all bodies.  Only near the end of training did I decide that I wanted to share my yoga. That I wanted to help others who were in bigger bodies, older bodies, stiffer bodies or just bodies that get ignored by the yoga world. I want to make yoga work for them. My hope is to bring this ease to your practice.


I thrive on guiding your experience and sharing in moments of profound successes right along with you. I offer all my teachings from a deeply nurturing and compassionate space. My aim is to empower you to live your life and practice yoga unapologetically – in the body you have today. I honor Yoga as an important mindful practice but a lot of me comes through as I teach. I can be silly, and my hope is you appreciate me for it. I teach while embracing all of the mistakes and successes that I have while connecting ‘home’ and becoming closer to my true self on and off the yoga mat. Join me for practice!


Sara Cotton


Instructor Sara Cotton

Sara is an experienced yoga and tai chi teacher and licensed massage and bodywork instructor.  Sara completed her eRYT200 Yoga Alliance training under Daren Friesen, Moksha Yoga Chicago in the Mysore Ashtanga lineage.  Sara is a recognized instructor by the Thai Healing Alliance International (THAI). Sara merges her work with subtle energy medicine, Healing Touch that is endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Association.


 Sara has over 800 certified hours in Chinese medicine theory and techniques. She's also completed Aircat Aerial Yoga 2012 and Acro Revolution partner acrobatic training in 2014. Sara's focus and cultivation on tai chi and meditation helps her share the gift of wellness. Sara is trained in several disciplines and holds a master's degree in Library Science and degrees in English and Creative Writing.


Deb Stevens



Deb Stevens will be a new land fitness instructor here at The American Center. She has been currently teaching Aquatic Exercise classes, Aqua Arthritis class and Aqua Core classes since August 2015. Deb has also been working in the fitness industry for the last 10 years with (MSCR) Madison School Community Recreation and UW Health at Research Park.  Deb's specialty is strength training, including Strong Woman Programs and Functional Fitness classes.


You can expect 100% dedication with safety first while guiding participants through weight training exercises to improve their muscular fitness, increase their flexibility through gentle

stretching, and improve their overall well-being. Deb is a master gardener, enjoys baking and is a grandmother of four. Turning almost 70, Deb has competed in Masters swim meets, and has raced in biking in the Badger State Games. Deb has been blessed with good health and truly enjoys teaching.