Aaron Thomas was raised in Parkersburg, Iowa and attended Aplington-Parkersburg High School. After graduating from high school, Aaron attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA.  While attending Drake, Aaron was a four year letter winner on their basketball team.  After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Aaron did a short stint at St. Cloud State as a graduate assistant basketball coach.  He then proceeded to take a job in education at Union High School in Laporte City, IA.   While working at Union High School, Aaron served as the Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, and Head Basketball Coach. Aaron furthered his education by getting his Master’s degree from Drake University in Educational Administration.

Aaron currently is an employee at Aplington-Parkersburg High School. Aaron is the Principal and the Head Basketball Coach. Aaron, his wife Ellie, and their three boys are also active members in the Congregational Church.

Call to public speaking

Aaron has a passion for impacting lives and public speaking is one avenue he utilizes. Aaron Thomas’ father Ed was a beloved high school football coach who not only trained generations of players on the importance of hard work, dedication, excellence and commitment but personally put these values into action when he was the community leader who inspired his town to rebuild in the wake of a deadly EF 5 tornado. Not long after the community withstood the disaster of the storm, the small town of Parkersburg, Iowa, endured a far worse tragedy: the fatal shooting of Ed Thomas by a former player with some mental health issues.

Following his father’s murder, Aaron was approached to return home to take over his father’s responsibilities as athletic director and to continue the legacy his father had built in being not only a school leader but an example for the town to follow.

Rather than shun the family of their father’s murderer and perpetuate the tragedy that Parkersburg faced, Aaron and his family called for understanding and forgiveness-because that’s what Ed Thomas would have wanted them to do.

In this incredible story of ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation, Aaron Thomas shares his family’s journey of showing uncommon strength during the darkest of times. Aaron’s speaking topics can vary but they most typically address how to deal with adversity, making the most of all opportunities and the power of one. He will challenge you to look at your life, your family, and your job to see if you are being a difference maker.

Due to his father’s accomplishments and the reaction of the Thomas Family in their most tragic moments, they were the awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage presented at the 2010 ESPY Awards.  Aaron also received the Missouri Valley Conference 2010 Most Courageous Award.  A book entitled the “The Sacred Acre” chronicles the accomplishments of Ed Thomas’ life and discusses the family reaction to the tragic event that took their father’s life.


Aaron Thomas has spoken to a wide array of groups which include middle school, high school and college students.  He has also spoken to faculty educational inservices, various businesses, churches, and many other organizations.



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