Leadership Academy

Leadership Academy

Our next academy will be held March 28, 2017 at the Iowa Event Center.


We have reached the 450 limit. Our next academy will be Fall of 2017. 

Click below to receive early email notification to our next academy.

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Iowa Event Center | Iowa Hall of Pride, Des Moines, Iowa

TUESDAY MARCH 28th, 2017

On Tuesday March 28th, 2017 the Ed Thomas Family Foundation will expand on it’s 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.


Iowa Event Center | Iowa Hall of Pride, Des Moines, Iowa


Aaron Thomas - 9:00 a.m Lyndsey Fennelly - 10:00 a.m Eilas Johnson - 10:30 a.m
Al Kerns -Lunch A - 11:10 a.m Al Kerns -Lunch B - 12:10 p.m Richie Contartesi - 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.


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.



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.


Former Iowa State PG All-American and 2007 WNBA Indiana Fever draftee

She is dedicated to bringing out the very best mentally, physically and emotionally with everyone she interacts with. A basketball skills trainer who has led over 30,000 athletes across North America since 2007, motivational speaker, and a proud Mom, she’s also owner of CampusCycle, a new beat-driven spin studio in Ames. She believes impacting others, making a positive difference, and having fun is a life well lived!


Award winning journalist

Elias currently anchors Good Morning Iowa on ABC 5 news where he also covers in-depth investigative and features stories each week. Elias is an accomplished journalist who has
won multiple awards for his work including several Edward R. Murrow and AP Excellence in Journalism awards. Most recently, Elias received a 2015 Emmy for his work.


Former 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.


Motivational Keynote Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author

As a Professional Motivational Keynote Speaker, Richie provides his personal insight and shares the adversity and struggles he faced when the odds were stacked against him. His realistic common sense roadmap explores why having a vision, building relationships, overcoming fear, and persistence are the keys to personal success. 


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.

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

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