Making schools a place where dreams become reality has been the driving force behind Larry Varn’s life work as an Educator. He truly believes that education has the power to change lives and change the trajectory for future generations. This is his personal testimony to overcoming a life of poverty, and he intends to impact as many other lives as possible for the better.
Principal Varn earned his undergraduate degree in English from Claflin University, one of the top ten HBCUs in the nation. He went on to earn his master’s degree and teaching credentials from New York University and is currently working on a doctorate degree from Illinois State University.
For the last two years, Mr. Varn has served as the esteemed eighth principal of Rich South High School. Under his leadership the school has noted significant gains in many areas, some of which include increased student attendance each year, higher Freshmen On-Track rates, decreased suspensions, and earning recognition as one of the best schools in the state by US News and World Report. According to the school’s HumanEx data, more than 70% of the faculty and staff have reported feeling highly engaged and highly satisfied working at the school since the change in leadership. This is reflective of a dramatic increase in teacher attendance rates. Last year, 100% of the senior class was accepted into college.
Principal Varn started his career as a teacher in his home state of South Carolina before relocating to Illinois in 2010. He began his career as an English teacher at Beaufort High School. His teaching career continued at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men and Marine Math and Science Academy in Chicago. After seven years of teaching, Principal Varn had the privilege of serving in an administrative role as the resident principal at Peace and Education Coalition Alternative High and the principal of Hirsch Metropolitan High School. These opportunities have provided him with great experiences in education and a proven track record of school improvement as both a teacher and administrator.
Principal Varn’s vision for Rich Township High School is to design the school to be the premier high school of the south suburbs. He is committed to the district's mission of focusing on students and student success. The mission will be reinforced with the school’s four pillars: academic achievement, post-secondary success, school pride, and global citizenship. With a staff focused on improving teaching and learning, Rich Township’s young adults will be prepared to compete globally for scholarships and success at selective colleges. As a community, building school spirit, and making connections that foster strong relationships, and creating fond memories of high school will be priorities for a strong culture. An emphasis on post-secondary success will ensure college and career readiness with a tailored plan that meets all individual needs. Our young adults will develop a good moral character that empowers them to become productive, responsible, and civically engaged citizens prepared to change the world. Commitment to these four pillars will guide all the decisions that impact the school’s achievement.