About Us
Wayfinder Core Team

Charlie Runyan

Program Lead, Rural Schools
Charlie Runyan

A first-generation college student who grew up along the banks of the Ohio River in Appalachia, Charlie is a pragmatic, results-oriented, strategic thinker who wholeheartedly believes in the transformative power of education to unlock doors of opportunity and success. His nearly 20-year career in education has spanned a variety of settings, including public and private education at secondary and post-secondary levels as well as community-based organizations.

Charlie is a licensed professional school counselor and has worked in high school counseling positions since 2015. Before joining Wayfinder, Charlie was Associate Director of College Counseling at The Hockaday School, an all-girls, pre-K to 12 day and boarding school in Dallas, Texas. In addition to his role as a college counselor, he also served as a four-year advisor, meeting daily with students to ensure they and their families felt known, mentored, and empowered, and a co-faculty sponsor of the school’s Queer Student Union. Prior to Hockaday, Charlie was Associate Director of College Counseling at Fort Worth Country Day, a private day school in Texas, and a school counselor at Westerville South High School, a public International Baccalaureate World School in Ohio.

Before becoming a professional school counselor and college counselor, Charlie served in various capacities related to helping students and their families navigate the higher education landscape. From 2005 to 2011, he worked in college and university administration at selective universities, including George Mason University, Ohio State University, Michigan State University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Charlie spent nearly four years in the nonprofit sector with I Know I Can, an Ohio college access and success organization, and Learning Circle Education Services, a technology nonprofit that created academic and early warning indicator databases for school districts and other nonprofits.

As a dedicated member of the college counseling profession, Charlie has given back to the larger community through his volunteer work with the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling, the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling, Hobson’s Naviance Urban Advisory Council, and by presenting at state, regional, and national conferences. In 2017, the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling presented him with the M. Jeanne Talley Human Relations Award for going above and beyond to those in need and giving meritorious service to the organization. He was also recognized as the 2021 Rising Star of the Texas Association for College Admission Counseling.

Charlie earned a Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University, a Master of Arts from Michigan State University, and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Dayton. He is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a concentration in Diversity and Equity in Education.

“My purpose is to believe in the limitless potential of all students and to design, implement, and evaluate programs and support structures that dismantle oppression and promote equity, belonging, and inclusion.”

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