Dr. Patricia Briscoe and NU alumnus John Della Fortuna, M.S.Ed.’06, M.S.Ed.’21, co-authored “Elite High-Level Sports Coach and the School Leader: What Can We Learn from Them?”

Dr. Patricia Briscoe, Niagara University in Ontario associate professor of education, and NU alumnus John Della Fortuna, M.S.Ed.’06, M.S.Ed.’21, co-authored “Elite High-Level Sports Coach and the School Leader: What Can We Learn from Them?” which was published in March 2024 in the Open Journal of Leadership.

The authors’ sporting backgrounds and the increasing uptake of coaching-leadership principles informed their investigation of how school leaders with previous elite sports coaching experience used their coaching skills, traits, and dispositions in their leadership and how their insights could improve leadership preparation programs.

“Our purpose was to learn how their coaching influenced their leadership and how that information could be used to prepare school leaders who are equipped to meet the ever-increasing demands of schools,” said Dr. Briscoe. “The findings demonstrated that participants had many specific traits, skills, and dispositions that facilitated their leadership, including high levels of self-efficacy, and embraced a performance development approach. The study identified potential areas to include in leadership development, including incorporating more experiential practice opportunities into leadership programs.”

"By conducting this research, we learned from some exceptional coaches,” Della Fortuna added. “It is always fulfilling to learn from inspiring people. In the field of education, we need to be able to pull and disseminate information from whoever and wherever we can. By doing this, we become better leaders, creating better outcomes for students."

Dr. Briscoe and Della Fortuna, superintendent of education at Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, Brantford, Ontario, were previously elite-level coaches and have worked in education and educational leadership for over 20 years.