Mr. Varner became Chief Executive Officer of Excellent Schools Detroit in 2011. Excellent Schools Detroit is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Detroit has an excellent education. Prior to that time Mr. Varner was a program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, he worked with the Education and Learning team to develop programming priorities, identifying and nurturing opportunities to affect positive change within communities. His responsibilities included reviewing and recommending proposals for funding, conducting site visits and maintaining strong relationships with grant seekers and external partners. He managed and monitored a portfolio of active grants, providing technical assistance to grantees on model development, partnership negotiations, leadership capacity building and coaching.
Mr. Varner joined the Foundation in 2010, after serving as chief executive officer for the youth development organization Think Detroit Police Athletic League (Think Detroit PAL), which he co-founded as Think Detroit in 1996. Earlier in his career, he worked as an attorney in Detroit, Michigan, at the Federal Defender Office and with Sachs, Waldman, O'Hare, Helveston, Bogas & McIntosh, PC.
He earned both a bachelor's degree in history and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan. Daniel has won numerous awards for public service, and currently serves on the board of directors at Think Detroit PAL and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. He has three children, and lives in Detroit, Michigan.