Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy

Registration is NOW CLOSED for the 2018 Fall Leadership Academy.

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On October 4, 2018, the Ed Thomas Family Foundation will expand on its goal of keeping the legacy of Coach Ed Thomas alive. Coach Thomas was a leader whose main objective was teaching young people to “Do What’s Right”. He was a great role model who lived his life true to the values that he taught to all. The Ed Thomas Family Foundation will provide an opportunity for high school students to strengthen their positive leadership skills and character by sponsoring the Ed Thomas Legacy Leadership Academy.


Registration will be 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Session 1 will be at 9:00 a.m. Sessions completed by 2:00 p.m.


Aplington-Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg, Iowa


Amanda Goodman - 9:00 a.m

Tyler Johnson - 10:00 a.m

Break-out Session - 10:30 a.m.

Al Kerns -Lunch A - 11:10 a.m

Al Kerns -Lunch B - 12:10 p.m

Aaron Thomas - 1:10 pm


$10 per participant & supervisors: each participant (including supervisors) will receive a T-shirt, lanyard + name tag, notebook, and pen. A sack lunch with a sub, fruit, and chips will be provided for each student. Water will be available free of charge.

*Checks can be mailed to: Ed Thomas Family Foundation, P.O. Box 536, Parkersburg, IA 50665. Currently, we do not have the capabilities to process credit card payments. Thank you for your understanding.


Each school is limited to no more than 12 student participants and 2 supervisors per school. Registration will be limited to the first 450 participants.



Amanda Goodman is an 18-year veteran of the TV news industry. After winning three Emmy awards, most recently at KWWL, Amanda wanted to make a real impact in the community.

She is now the Executive Director of Family and Children’s Council - a nonprofit that works to make sure every child is happy, healthy and safe. Amanda led the charge in the search for the late Jake Wilson and Mollie Tibbetts. 

Her priority has always been to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves. She founded the local Stand for the Silent group, an anti- bullying initiative. She also serves on a federal task force to make the City of Waterloo a safe place to raise children. Amanda writes a popular blog entitled “Unfiltered” that has been featured on Upworthy and The Huffington Post.

Amanda and her husband have four children: Gia, Nico, Luciana and Aria. A native of Philadelphia, Amanda is a die-hard Eagles fan.


Tyler Johnson is the owner of Elevate Educate Rejuvenate, focused on student-athlete leadership, mental toughness and team culture. A former division 1 football captain at the University of Northern Iowa; co-leading the team in tackles in 2003’s conference championship season. He grew up in Urbandale, Iowa where he was a two-sport all-state athlete. After college, he spent five years working with the Chicago White Sox and two with the Denver Nuggets. Then shifting his passion for sports back to work with student-athletes, he helped launch the Colorado Chapter of Positive Coaching Alliance in 2011. Continuing to lead education and training for PCA, Tyler launched Elevate Educate Rejuvenate in 2017 to positively impact more student-athletes and coaches; helping them become better leaders, mentally stronger and create winning team cultures. 


Former Teacher and Coach at Aplington-Parkersburg

Al Kerns began teaching and coaching at Parkersburg High School in 1978. He retired from Aplington- Parkersburg in 2014 after 36 years of teaching. During his career at Parkersburg/ Aplington-Parkersburg, he was an assistant coach to Ed Thomas for over 30 years and the head girls’ track coach for 29 years.


High School Principal Aplington-Parkersburg

Aaron Thomas is the oldest son of the Late Ed Thomas. At a young age, Aaron knew he wanted to go into education and coaching because he saw the impact his father was able to have on young people. Every day he witnessed the passion Ed Thomas displayed while working with young people.


The Ed Thomas Legacy Leadership Academy was established to carry forward what Coach Thomas was most passionate about -impacting young people. Coach Thomas always claimed that the school was his mission field and he spent his life trying to help students realize their potential and the impact they can have on others.

The Ed Thomas Family Foundation is committed to carrying on Coach Thomas’ legacy by passing on his philosophies to students. Our first Ed Thomas Legacy Leadership Academy was held on October 2, 2014 at Aplington-Parkersburg High School with over 490 students and supervisors in attendance. The response was so positive that we have continued to offer our academies each fall and spring.  We have held five academies with over 2,300 students and supervisors in attendance.  With our academies we hope to continue impacting young people to become positive leaders in their schools and communities.

Amazon Smile

I have been in education and have coached for over 20 years. I've never been through a more meaningful day with students than I did last week at the Ed Thomas Leadership Academy. As soon as we got into our suburban to drive back to Creston, my students talked about what they had heard and how we could immediately implement change in our school. They talked the entire way home! I've never had an experience with students like that! We are in the process of developing a leadership course for students here at Creston High School. This was the first step in the development. I've gathered a lot of great ideas that we can implement with our students. Again, THANK YOU. You guys were right - something good can come out of something bad. I will continue to bring Creston students to the Ed Thomas Academy.

- Todd Jacobson, Creston HS

This was such an awesome motivating day! I believe every student we brought got a ton out of this! ~ I wish our whole school could have attended! ~Thank you for hosting this event. Our kids & I loved it. We'll be back. A first class event. ~ You did a tremendous job of inspiring the young athletes I brought with me and energizing me to continue my work in the education and athletic arena. ~ It was an amazing experience! I learned so much that I hope to bring back to my school.

- Leadership Reviews, comments from students and supervisors on the first leadership academy