Scott Varner on Virtual Call for Columbus City Schools

WOUB Experience Influences Government Communication Career

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Scott Varner graduated from Ohio University in 1994

ATHENS, OH – As the executive director of strategic partnerships and family engagement for Columbus City Schools, Scott Varner’s job has become vital in recent months. The Coronavirus pandemic has students and parents looking to the former WOUB student to stay connected while learning from home.

“In this time of COVID and crisis, our efforts have been elevated to connect families with information and resources like never before,” said Varner. “Twice a week we host virtual family engagement sessions on Zoom to answer parent questions. I spend a lot of time talking directly with families and students.”

Varner grew up in Dayton and graduated from Ohio University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. While he didn’t realize it at the time, Varner says his time working at WOUB gave him vital leadership skills that he uses today.

“I was involved at WOUB in the newsroom very early in my college career. I had the good fortune to get one of the few paid positions at WOUB radio, coming in at 6am and working with the assistant news director at the time, Fred Kight,” said Varner. “I got to be a contributor very early on and for me that was very exciting.”

As he became a student leader in the WOUB newsroom, Varner realized that he had an important responsibility to train younger students and help them and the WOUB newsroom succeed.

“I had a leadership role in mentoring others coming up through the ranks, and what I discovered when I went to my first job in a very small television market was that I wasn’t the only young person at the station. I often, in addition to my job, had to teach others.”

Varner’s first job after graduation was as a TV news producer in Topeka, Kansas. He later moved on to a producer position at WBNS in Columbus, where he worked for six years.

“I got the job at WBNS because of a connection from Ohio University and WOUB. I produced the WBNS political show plus special projects.”

In 2001, Varner left television news to work for the City of Columbus in communications and community relations. He then worked for the Ohio Department of Transportation and Franklin County in various communication roles, before landing at Columbus City Schools.

In addition to working with families, Varner has found this position is also giving him the opportunity to relive a little of his time at WOUB and return to his public radio roots.

“Columbus City Schools owns WCBE, the NPR radio station in Columbus,” said Varner. “It’s really awesome because we are currently trying to reimagine how that station adds to the communication and family outreach for the district.”