Candace Guilford – Gym Director, Head Instructor
Candace began her career at the age of 4 dancing for the Royal School of Dance. She performed the Nutcracker for 2 years and was on the travel team performing all over the state for a total of 8 years. During that time she began gymnastics, and she competed as a gymnast for 3 years. Her love for both sports evolved when she attended a Winter Park High School football game and realized that cheerleading was the perfect combination of both.
In 1990, Candace began cheering at WPHS in the 9TH grade and was captain her freshman year. She was on the first freshman competition team who placed 3rd at Regionals. She cheered for the next three years on the football squad and competed for the nationally ranked WPHS competition team ranking in the top 10 all three years. She was featured on ESPN her senior year.
Candace became a collegiate level cheerleader in 1993 when she received an athletic college scholarship in cheerleading to Valdosta State University. She cheered at the college level for 3 years. She also began teaching for UCA as a certified instructor traveling throughout the southeast teaching cheerleading to all ages. Candace also worked for the local YMCA in Georgia teaching gymnastics and cheerleading to all ages. She transferred to UCF to study marketing and communications and graduated from UCF with a Bachelor’s Degree.
In 1996, Candace began her coaching career at her alma mater, WPHS. She was the assistant coach for the JV and soon became the head JV cheer coach for football and competition while assisting the varsity coach. She led the JV competition team to 8 1st place finishes at the Regional level and 8 top 5 rankings at the UCA nationals. She has remained as an assistant cheer coach at WPHS and has had in iatrical part in the choreography and coaching for the competition teams helping them receive many top 10 rankings and state titles. Candace is AACCA certified under the National High School Federation.
For the past 10 years, Candace has worked for many local cheer gyms including the Winter Park YMCA, implementing mommy-and-me, toddler, and youth classes for children and babies. She finds that this is her true nitch and receives such reward in teaching the fundamentals of strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and special awareness to these young future athletes. Candace loves children; she was been blessed with three of her own and she shares the love of these sports with them.
Candace is available for private lessons.
Taylor Smith – Instructional staff, social media, administration
Taylor started cheering at the age of 5 for a pop warner team in Texas. She cheered for pop warner for five years, then moved to Florida where she began to cheer at an all-star cheerleading gym for 7 years. Taylor also cheered for her high school at Winter Springs High School. Taylor has always been passionate about cheerleading and wanted to continue having cheer in her life, so she started coaching at Winter Park Cheer Athletics. Her first year at Winter Park Stars, she was an assistant coach for our youth and mini level 1 teams. She also coached our half-season team during her first year. Her second year coaching, she coached our senior 2 and junior 1 teams. Her third year coaching, she coached our junior 2 team. This will be her fourth year coaching and she will also be working our administration side of the business. Taylor has 12 years of cheerleading experience and 3 years of coaching experience. Taylor is working on her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Central Florida in Elementary Education. Taylor plans on being an all-star cheer coach and a teacher.
Taylor is available for private lessons
Ashley King – Instructional staff, event planner
Ashley began her love of sports at a young age. She started with gymnastics at the age of 3. Once reaching middle school, she started cheerleading at Lake Mary Allstars. Once Ashley reached high school, she tried out for the Winter Park High School competition squad, and as a freshman made the Varsity Team. She would cheer on Varsity in high school for all four years. Even continuing to play the trumpet in both marching and concert band, GO WILDCATS. After graduating high school and attending Valencia/UCF for dental. Ashley work as a cheer instructor for UCA. Teaches children off all ages including college!! Also after high
After graduating high school and attending UCF for dental, Ashley worked as a cheer instructor for UCA. Also after high school she returned to her alumni to coach Winter Park High School freshman and JV for 5 years. Ashley remained on staff for 8 years, excelling and specializing in all-girl stunting.
Soon Ashley started a family and took a small break from cheer. Returning back to cheer in 2017-2018 season at the Winter Park Stars to coach the Mini Team. 2018-2019 season she would begin coaching the Youth level 1. She enjoys coaching younger girls and seeing the vast improvement in all aspects of their cheerleading abilities. Having three children, she definitely knows her way around kids.
Ashley is available for private lessons.
Micala Cunningham – Instructional staff
Micala has been a cheerleader for her whole life. Starting with a local little league at the age of 6 and quickly moving into the competitive cheer world and cheering with her local all-star team for the next 9 years. Being the daughter of a cheer and tumbling coach trained her to be prepared in her own cheer/tumbling progression, and gave her the tools needed to prepare others. In her 3 year experience as a Tumbling/Cheer coach, she has worked with many different types of tumblers and can identify what kind of teaching method everyone responds to best, which allows for quick and safe growth. This is her first year with Winter Park Stars and Micala’s goal is to help each athlete that walks through the door and get them to the next level they are pursuing. Whether it’s a cartwheel to a full or preparing for tryouts, She is dedicated to helping them achieve their goals.
Micala is available for private lessons.