Meet the Varsity All Star Leadership Team

John Newby

General Manager

John Newby

General Manager

John has been with Varsity for 37 years in many different roles, and is back as the Varsity All Star General Manager for competitions and fashion. This is no small task, but as a husband of 33 years to his favorite Clemson cheerleader, Mary Rose, and as a father of 5 former competitive cheerleaders and dancers - he is more than suited for the task. He is an intense listener, a truth teller and he loves this industry and the people in it are like family to him.

``Our new Varsity All Star Leadership Team is full of experience and talent, but what makes them great is their intense motivation and dedication to elevating the all star experience. I hope you will share in my excitement knowing the strength, innovation and integrity each of these individuals bring to the table. As a leadership team, our focus is customer centric. You, your athletes and their families are the reason we have the privilege to do what we do, and you will remain at the heart of each decision we make.``

Tara Harris

All Star Event Sales

Tara Harris

All Star Event Sales

Tara brings more than 15 years of experience in the industry, as a sales representative and sales manager in both our Varsity All Star and Varsity All Star Fashion divisions. Tara's career started at the JAM Brands in Louisville, KY where she was a rising star both in event sales and customer service. Since 2017, she has been managing the Midwest territory for Varsity All Star Fashion. In this new role, she will focus on leading the Varsity All Star Advisor team to build on their partnerships with our customers. Tara's focus has always centered around listening to customers, earning their trust and monitoring industry trends. Tara lives in Peoria, IL with her husband, Curtis, and their two children, Hayden (7) and Savannah (5).

Darrell Bagby

Event Operations

Darrell Bagby

Event Operations

Darrell has 25 years of experience planning and executing cheer and dance events across the United States, for a variety of event brands. Darrell is a creative thinker with a proven track record of operational excellence. In his new role, Darrell will implement and monitor day-to-day operational systems and processes that provide visibility into goals, progress and obstacles for key initiatives. He and his wife, Mia, have been with Varsity All Star since 2006 and reside in Memphis, TN. They have three children, Donovan (17), Leila (13), and Max (10).

``Delivering a complete competition experience from beginning to end feels great. Setting up an event, welcoming coaches, teams and their families, the lights, music, and energy are magnetic for me. There’s nothing better. From the warm-up room to the stage, and on to awards, I want to be sure every athlete, coach and spectator has a fun and memorable competition journey. I’m excited to have the opportunity to help deliver those great experiences while leading the Varsity All Star Operations Team and I look forward to working with you soon!``

Jessica Radon

All Star Fashion Design

Jessica Radon

All Star Fashion Design

For more than 20 years, Jessica's eye for design has been shaping Varsity All Star. In 2010, Jessica was named our very first Varsity All Star Fashion Specialist. While working with senior leadership, a dedicated design and sales team was established and commissioned to serve the unique apparel needs of all star athletes. She currently leads our apparel design team, developing several collections annually. Her experience in product development, fabric technology, fit and function are equally matched by her true love of the all star industry. Jessica jet sets between her home Orchard Park, NY and our office in Plano, TX. She and her husband Michael have a son, Gunner (7).

Kelley Thorp

Stay Smart & Housing

Kelley Thorp

Stay Smart & Housing

Kelley has 25 years in the All-Star cheer industry as one of the founders of The American Championships. During those years she has served in many roles including registration, marketing and most recently, housing. Kelley now heads up our Varsity All Star Stay Smart housing initiative. Her approach to housing has always been about education and a genuine willingness to have open and honest conversations. Kelley lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband Jim, and their 3 daughters Jordan (22), Karter (16), Bailey (16).

“Cheerleading has provided me amazing opportunities, experiences, and relationships so it is truly a pleasure to serve the all star cheer and dance community. I strive to ensure that everyone I serve feels heard, valued, and empowered. Maya Angelou said it best when she reminded all of us. “People may forget what you do but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Craig Davis

Brand Performance & Experience

Craig Davis

Brand Performance & Experience

Craig has been with Varsity All Star for 11 years but began his career in 2004 as an event producer for WSF. Most recently, he served on our business technology team, conceptualizing, building and evolving our systems for registration, judging and scoring, as well as competition and camp tracking. In his new role, Craig is responsible for establishing and executing our strategic plans and ensure our event operations teams provide a world-class customer experience. He and his wife, Erin, live in Clermont, FL with their two children, Devyne (17) and Cruz (3).

``My passion for our sport has given me the opportunity to be a part of a community that provides an arena where today’s youth can showcase their athletic talents while building lifelong memories. Personally, the all-star industry has brought me many lifelong memories and friendships than span over the last three decades.``

Damianne Albee

Synergy & International Operations

Damianne Albee

Synergy & International Operations

Damianne has been an integral part of The Summit Championship since its inception, and a driving force in its success. Through the last two decades, her various roles within Varsity All Star have taken her across the globe where she has established close relationships with our partners in Australia, Europe and Canada. She will continue to lead our End-of-Season Strategy Team, manage our International Team, and liaise with Varsity University. Additionally, Damianne will work hand in hand with Darrell and Craig to maximize synergies between brands and regions. Damianne lives in Memphis, TN.

``Growing up with my father being in sports, I always knew that I would wind up in some sort of related industry, but I knew I wanted to be someone that made a difference. I have worked hard to be not just a resource for my customers but also a friend throughout the years. I look forward to continuing to do so in the years to come. Those that know me know I love quotes, so I want to share a quote I live by from one of the greatest coaches in his sport. 'A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.', Mike Krzyzewski. I am excited to continue to work with you all.``

Dan Kessler

Domestic & International Business Development

Dan Kessler

Domestic & International Business Development

As a former owner of The JAM Brands, Dan has over 20 years of experience in the all star event industry. From his humble roots of dancing in the JAMMY costume, all the way up to serving on the USASF Board of Directors, he has never taken his eye off nurturing customer relationships, both in the states and internationally. In this role, Dan will work to develop new business opportunities for Varsity All Star. He will also work to expand and enhance our international presence as part of our international team. Dan and his wife, Shannon, live in Louisville, KY with their daughters, Ruby Jane (10) and Eleanor (7).

``Through all my years in the sport I’ve had a passion to create new products and services that will have a positive impact on a kid's life and on our sport. In doing so I’ve always had a “athlete first” focus to make sure they enjoy competitions. I’ve listened to gym owners, coaches and athletes from all over the world to help shape my ideas. I’m excited for the future of Varsity All Star as we will continue to be at the forefront of innovation in our sport.``

Tina Sexton

Marketing & Communications

Tina Sexton

Marketing & Communications

Tina began her all star career at JAMfest Events in 2003. Following the JAM Brands merger, she was promoted to VP of Customer Experience & Communications for Varsity All Star. In her new role as VP of Marketing & Communications, Tina will be responsible for Varsity All Star's marketing strategy, communication plans, their implementation and evaluation. Tina & her husband, Matt, live in Louisville, KY with their three children, Claire (13), Gus (11) and Callie (9).

``Even as a kid, I have always loved how some brands made me feel, and I know that great advertising influenced my choices on everything from candy to cars. I am honored to lead our Marketing and Communications team at Varsity All Star because I know our products and services are so much more than just events or apparel. We have the chance to create a lasting, positive impression on the athletes of the all star industry.``

Stephanie Ammirati

Scoring & Judges

Stephanie Ammirati

Scoring & Judges

Stephanie Ammirati is the National Scoring Director for Varsity All Star. She started with NCA as a camp instructor in 2002, teaching both HS and College camps for 10+ years. In 2008, she took a full time role with Varsity Spirit, working in the NCA office in Dallas in the competition department. Throughout her career with Varsity, she has worked directly with sales, scoring, judges and competitions. Stephanie was one of the first All Star Advisors and has been an integral part of Varsity All Star since its inception in 2010. She helped create, develop and implement the Varsity All Star Scoring System over 10 years ago. This is the most widely used and known scoring system in the All Star industry, that is used by over 95% of events both in the US and Internationally. Stephanie is responsible for the continued evolution of the scoring system and creating consistency in scoring across all Varsity All Star Brands, as well as the training and education of the Varsity All Star Certified Judges. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Education. Stephanie and her husband, Dan, live in Huntsville, AL.

Justin Carrier

All Star Experience

Justin Carrier

All Star Experience

Justin started teaching summer camps for NCA in 1995 and began working in the corporate office full-time in 2001. He's served in many roles over the years, including Director of Scoring for Varsity All Star, Vice President of NCA, member of the USASF Rules Committee and Board of Directors, and Southwest Region General Manager.