Meet Your Area Representatives

December 1, 2013

   In The Loop Extended Articles

Gloria Masterson Leous
Area 5 Representative and ARC Chairperson
Currently coaching in Altoona, Penn.
Coaching since 1987
Current Ratings/Rankings: MM, SFS, RG, Level III

Gloria Leous has been fortunate to have many long-term relationships with her students, and loves the opportunity to watch her young skaters develop into happy, productive adults. As with most coaches who have taught for any length of time, Leous appreciates the individual personalities of the skaters she has coached. She said she learned a little something from every student.

“When they were young and I was young, I was lucky to have talented skaters,” Leous said. “I think what a better job I could have done for them if I knew then what I know now. It’s more a reflection of their talent than what I did with them at the time.”

Leous is a staunch supporter of the PSA and the educational opportunities it provides for both new and experienced coaches.

“When you’re a new coach, sometimes you feel insecure about what you know. It's important to get to that place where you embrace the fact that there's so much that you don't know,” she said. “That's when you can really start to grow, learn, and develop as a coach. The biggest reward from pursuing my coaching education is seeing my skaters succeed and progress faster because I'm better at my job.”

Leous is about halfway through her first term as the Area Representatives Committee chair, and enjoys her responsibility of disseminating information to member coaches. With the advent of the IJS, there is so much more information coaches need to remain current, so the job of the Area Representative has grown in the last couple of years.

“We've sent out about 50 messages so far this year, which is a record for us,” Leous said. “Plus, we've just completed the Relaunch of the Area Representative's mailing lists, which have to be rectified with the lists at the PSA office every three years.” 

Leous's duties include tracking the mailings, and she is also responsible for training new representatives.
“We're about to start searches for two area representatives, so my plate is full. But I have a great committee, and everyone pitches in.”

In addition to being the ARC Chair, Gloria continues to serve as the Area 5 Representative as well.
“My interaction with fellow coaches is the best part of the job,” she said. “It’s gratifying to be able to help them when they need help.”

Sharon Brilliantine
Area 12 Representative
Coaching in Kansas City since 1979
Ratings/Rankings: SFS, RM; Level IV

Rodgers and Hammerstein once told the world, “Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City.”  As far as figure skating goes, however, that’s not what Sharon Brilliantine found when she arrived there more than three decades ago. After training in a highly competitive environment under Ron Ludington at the Skating Club of Wilmington in Delaware, she had held high expectations for her future in America’s heartland.

However, she soon found her work was cut out for her.

“I arrived in a place where there were very few ‘serious’ skaters, and no interest in regional competition, let alone beyond,” Brilliantine said.

She quickly learned to teach beginners and build programs, and within five years the local club had tripled in size and she and husband Randy had taken their first competitor to Nationals (Aren Nielsen, the 1985 Novice Men’s silver medalist).

After 30 years of coaching, Brilliantine has watched many of her skaters attain their goals. That list includes gold medalists and students who are now coaches and judges. Sharon and her husband have produced many Regional, Sectional, National, and International medalists.

One of the Brilliantines’ former skaters is on track to attend the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.  The team worked with John Coughlin for 16 years before he moved to train in Colorado Springs. The Brilliantines took him to Nationals several times in singles and pairs through the Junior level.

“We were very close with John’s family and wish him continued success,” she said. “I have had the pleasure of being a part of many skaters’ childhoods. As a coach, we are with these skaters many hours a week. We see them grow and help them through the day-to-day experiences of life. I see how important a coach can be in the stability of a child’s life when they are going through a rough time, such as a parent’s divorce.”

Brilliantine currently teaches at several rinks in the Kansas City area, and is a member of the Silver Blades Figure Skating Club.  Her extended “skating family” is now multi-generational, as she teaches some of the children of her former students. She has seen them through many ups and downs, but is still motivated to help skaters learn to love the sport and help them achieve their goals.

“My skaters have inspired me to bring out the best in them, and in return they have brought out the best in me,” she said. “It is still a joy to see a student accomplish the success of passing a test or mastering a new move, or doing their best in a competition.  My experience as a coach has taught me patience and perseverance, and to never underestimate the will of a skater to be successful.