Charles Kouns

Founding Steward

Charles Kouns or "Charlie," as he is most usually named, is an educator and visionary with over 20 years of secondary and tertiary school experience guiding and empowering young people to discover their wisdom and believe in themselves. His passion for giving young people voice, led him to found Imagining Learning in order to explore new frontiers in education. He now leads Imagining Learning's Listening Sessions, asking teens across America for their input on how education could be reinvented.

Charlie has taught school at every level from middle school to graduate school. He has also been a swimming and basketball coach as well as a mentor to many young people throughout the years.

He is an award winning communicator, having spent 15 years in marketing communications during his lifetime. During that time, he was well-known for his ability to nourish the lives of those who worked with and under him, even long after their tenure with him (he still counsels some of them today).

Perhaps, the most realistic affects of modern public and private education on young people came to his awareness through his own experiences with his three children, Elliot, Chelsea and Paris. "Their lives each required very different learning approaches and the schools just weren't prepared to offer what they needed, despite the wonderful intentions of some of their teachers and administrators." he said. "Their struggles to find fulfillment and meaning left an indelible mark on me."

In July of 2006, Charlie was sitting on his couch reading a book when he had a vision that radically changed his life. During the vision, "I was taken to a high place above the earth. It was very dark, so I could not see anything. But while I sat in this place, I could hear the prayers of young people from all over the world. Not prayers as in religious prayers, but prayers none-the-less, asking for the elders to step forward and honor their life essence and listen to what they have to offer the world."

When Charlie came back into the living room, he could feel this incredible desire within him to "work as hard and long as I could to help be and create an answer to those prayers. I knew immediately I was being called to create a new conversation about the future of education."
Shortly thereafter, he created Imagining Learning and "I have been listening and learning ever since!"