Excellent Schools Detroit announces new executive director

DETROIT – Excellent Schools Detroit announced the selection of Daniel Varner as its new executive director. He will start Sept. 6.

“It’s an honor for me to have been selected for this important leadership position, and I’m eager to get to work to help push for excellence at all Detroit schools,” Varner said.

Varner is currently a program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he works with the Education and Learning team to develop programming priorities, identifying and nurturing opportunities to affect positive change within communities to support vulnerable children and families.

“Dan's commitment to helping the children of Detroit thrive will be a tremendous asset to Excellent Schools Detroit," said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Before joining the Kellogg Foundation, Varner was the chief executive officer of Think Detroit Police Athletic League, one of the largest youth development organizations in Detroit, serving more than 12,000 youth annually. He now sits on the board.

“Dan was a founding member of the Excellent Schools Detroit coalition, so we’re delighted that someone with his experience and understanding of the important issues around school reform will lead the organization,” said Skillman Foundation President & CEO Carol Goss, who also chairs the Excellent Schools Detroit board.

Earlier in his career, Varner was a public defender and an associate attorney with Sachs, Waldman, O’Hare, Helveston, Bogas & McIntosh, PC. He earned his B.A. in History and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan.

Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of education, government, community, parent and nonprofit leaders, has developed a citywide education plan to help ensure that all Detroit children are in an excellent school by 2020. Its goal is to see 90 percent of the city's students graduating from high school, 90 percent of them going on to college or quality career training and 90 percent of them being ready to succeed at college or career training without needing remedial education.