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Renaissance’s Chief Academic Officer ‘Unlocks Student Talent’ in New Book

Dr. Gene Kerns co-authors book that serves as a talent code for teachers

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (Dec. 15, 2017)Renaissance®, the leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics, today announces the release of Unlocking Student Talent: The New Science of Developing Expertise, a research-driven book co-authored by Gene M. Kerns, EdD, vice president and chief academic officer at Renaissance. Unlocking Student Talent explores how educators can develop student expertise and foster talent.

“After reading books like The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, which profiles the series of experiences and factors that take generally ordinary people and turn them into world class experts, I thought it would be insightful to apply this research to education,” says Dr. Kerns. “Developing expertise is one of the main goals of teaching, and the sooner teachers can tap into that expertise, the better—it can have a tremendous impact on a student’s future success. Unlocking Student Talent gives teachers their own ‘talent code’ for the classroom.”

In addition to The Talent Code, Dr. Kerns, alongside co-authors Dr. Robin Fogarty and Brian Pete, drew upon a decade of written works to inform Unlocking Student Talent, including:

  • Outliers by Malcom Gladwell,

  • Talent is Over-rated by Geoff Colvin,

  • Bounce by Matthew Syed, and

  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson and Dr. Robert Pool.

Most of these books, written for general audiences, focus on how individuals can achieve elevated levels of performance through extended training and practice. Unlocking Student Talent discusses three key elements of developing expertise in students: motivation, practice, and coaching. When incorporated into instruction, these elements can help educators shape students into independent learners and skilled performers who are career- or college-ready upon graduation.

“This book offers revolutionary proposals for transforming general education and, in particular, describes how to produce high-school graduates who are independent learners prepared and ready to employ the appropriate methods in acquiring whatever skills they need to succeed in their careers,” write Drs. Ericsson and Pool in the foreword of Unlocking Student Talent.

For more information about Unlocking Student Talent, please visit: To order a copy of the book, please visit Teachers College Press:

About Renaissance

Renaissance® is the leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics—enabling teachers, curriculum creators, and educators to drive phenomenal student growth. Renaissance’s solutions help educators analyze, customize, and plan personalized learning paths for students, allowing time for what matters—creating energizing learning experiences in the classroom. Founded by parents, upheld by educators, and enriched by data scientists, Renaissance knows learning is a continual journey—from year to year and for a lifetime. Our data-driven, personalized solutions are currently used in over one-third of U.S. schools and more than 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit

About Gene M. Kerns, EdD

Gene M. Kerns, EdD, is a third-generation educator with teaching experience from elementary through the university level, in addition to his K–12 administrative experience. As Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance, Dr. Kerns advises educators in both the US and the UK about academic trends and opportunities. Previously, he served as the Supervisor of Academic Services for the Milford School District in Milford, Delaware. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Longwood College in Virginia and a doctor of education degree from the University of Delaware. His first publication, Informative Assessment: When It’s Not About a Grade, focused on using routine, reflective, and rigorous informative assessments to inform and improve teaching practices and student learning.

Contact for Media Inquiries Only:

Katie Waite
[email protected]

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