Al Kerns began his teaching and coaching career in January of 1978 at Hudson, Iowa for one semester. He then began teaching and coaching at Parkersburg, Iowa. He continued his career as an educator with Parkersburg, and later, Aplington-Parkersburg Schools, until his retirement in 2014. He has kept in contact with young people through curriculum sales, speaking opportunities, the Ed Thomas Legacy Leadership Academy, and as an Instructional Coach at Aplington-Parkersburg.
During his teaching and coaching career, Al taught psychology, sociology, character and leadership, health, and elementary physical education. He coached football, girls track, and girls basketball. His girls track team won the state title in 2001 and finished as the state runner-up four times.
Al was a long-time assistant to the legendary coach, Ed Thomas, whose football program won multiple state titles and runner-ups. Al has had the opportunity to present to a wide variety of parents, educators and students over the years. His message relates to effective team building, character and leadership, and overcoming adversity.
A major part of Al’s inspiration comes from the perseverance the community of Parkersburg had to endure following an EF5 tornado in 2008 and an on-campus murder of his best friend, Coach Ed Thomas, in 2009.
“Want to Improve Your Performance? Improve Your Character!”
“Leadership…Not Every Team Has It, But Every Great Team Does!”
“Ex Malo Bonum (Out of Bad Comes Good)”
“3 Things I Want my Grandkids to Know”
“Obvious Secrets, the Paradox of Success”
“Al Kerns has the rare ability to connect with his audience almost immediately. I have heard him address high school students, teachers, and athletic teams, and you could have heard a pin drop…no matter which group he was speaking to! Al is ‘real’ and he ‘gets it’! Whether he is talking about character, leadership, or any number of other topics, he has a way of breaking down his message so the audience ‘gets it’ too! I strongly encourage you to put Al Kerns on your speaking team, as he will be ‘FLAT OUT’ outstanding!”
Jim Miller, 10x NCAA Wrestling Champions, Wartburg College
“Al Kerns does an outstanding job speaking to any type of audience from students, to teaching staff, to the business sector. His message is one that every person will benefit from and be inspired by. When he speaks, his passion and belief are very evident! Our students and staff have both commented he is the best speaker we have ever had at our school. He has done an amazing job with our teachers during our professional development. Mr. Kerns also speaks at the Ed Thomas Leadership Academy each year. With over 500 students attending each year, the evaluations consistently state that they could ‘listen to Al Kerns speak all day.’ Whether you represent a school, an association, a community or a business, you will not be disappointed in booking Al Kerns to address your group!”
Aaron Thomas, HS Principal, Aplington-Parkersburg Community Schools
“Coach Kerns is going to give it to you straight. His ability to share his life experiences and life lessons had a tremendous impact on our basketball program. He brings the kind of passion and enthusiasm that makes a difference. His message fits all age groups and will leave you motivated to give each and every day your absolute best!”
Ben Jacobson, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, University of Northern Iowa
“I have listened to Mr. Kerns on multiple occasions along with a multitude of other speakers and I can honestly say I have witnessed no other speaker who does a better job of keeping a group of several hundred students and/or adults captivated to the level that Mr. Kerns does! He is the best I have seen without question. His message is relevant and hits home with all ages. As an owner of a national contracting business based in Dallas, TX, I made it a priority to invite him to speak to several hundred of our employees. The response was tremendous! I would strongly suggest that you treat your group or organization to one of the best ‘it hits home’ messages available!”
Michael Murphy, Principle, Powerhouse Retail Services