Mister Teacher Person

Stacy King, star reporter for television news station KPGH, has made it. Successful in high school. Successful in college. Her face is now seen by tens of thousands every day throughout Squirrel Hill and the entire Pittsburgh area. But her latest assignment, returning to Squirrel Hill High for a profile piece on English teacher Mr. Payne (who has himself recently disappeared from the halls of the high school) puts her back in touch with a past she thought she’d left behind. And on her journey to discover what happened to Mr. Payne, startling revelations about her own past at Squirrel Hill High are brought to light.

Meet J. M. Varner

With the days of international travel behind him, J.M. Varner now exercises his language skills in his English classroom and on the page. A second life as an author affords him another way to encourage his students and fans to read, write, and think independently. Borrowing terms from noted media critic Neil Postman, Mr. Varner summarizes his ‘Philosophy of Fiction’: “Writing a novel is a creative process of World Building and Word Weaving. Authors build worlds in our minds; these can be fantastical worlds or fictionalized variations of our own reality. By writing and rewriting, we weave these worlds into words on the page.” Mr. Varner is currently writing the next novel in the “Squirrel Hill High” series, a series launched with the debut novel, “Digital Me”. Set in a fictional high school located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Squirrel Hill High students and teachers live through true-to-life drama in the emotionally charged environment of the American high school.


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Jesse Minkin is a study-mad Harvard hopeful. Anything that could possibly distract him from this goal is just petty teenage drama to him, including romance. His two best friends since childhood—the popular jock and the intimidating bad boy—have created the perfect shield for him, behind which he can safely practice his nerdy ways without harassment from bullies. However, when he meets the openly gay target of a violent hate crime, Jesse begins to see beyond his textbooks; perhaps there’s educational merit in petty teenage drama after all, and not all learning leads to Harvard.

(contains mature language and references to drug use)

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