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First ever Why Not You Academy launched in Washington

For Immediate Release | October 28, 2020
Contact: Maggie Meyers at or 724.263.9826

Des Moines, WA – Today, the Why Not You Foundation announced, alongside founders Russell Wilson and Ciara, the launch of the first-ever Why Not You Academy in Washington state, just south of Seattle. Opening in Fall 2021, the new high school is a partnership between authorized charter public school leaders Garth Reeves and Scott Canfield and the Why Not You Foundation. The Why Not You Academy will operate as a tuition-free public high school in full accordance with the Washington state charter school law, and offer a unique, personalized approach and a high-quality education option for students and families in the Des Moines community.

The new school remains true to the model and mission developed by Reeves and Canfield, while also embodying the Why Not You Foundation’s mission to spark change in the world by empowering youth to lead with a ‘why not you’ attitude. By providing students with access to innovative and equitable education opportunities they deserve, Why Not You Academy will equip today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders.

“We’ve always held the belief that life’s successes start with a good education, but recognize that access isn’t always created equally for all. The Why Not You Foundation was created with the concept of empowering youth to lead with a why not you attitude and that’s why it was important for our foundation to partner with Scott, Garth, and Cascade Public Schools to help  open doors for kids from less fortunate backgrounds. This school is a longtime dream of ours and it was important for us to find a way to combine traditional classroom learning with community and mentorship-based activities, in order to prepare kids for the real world. Why Not You is based on the idea that it can start with one and our hope is that this school will be the first of many.” — Russell Wilson and Ciara

Charter public schools in Washington, such as Why Not You Academy, provide families additional and free alternative public school options, and Washington’s charter school law is unique for its emphasis on serving systemically underserved students. Charter public schools are given more flexibility to innovate and personalize learning for students. In exchange, they are held to higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools for showing improved student achievement. One tool in the larger toolbox of educational opportunities to ensure that all students have access to an excellent education, Why Not You Academy will bring Reeves’ and Canfield’s combined 25 years of experience as educators, and a deep shared commitment to educational justice. The school will blend relevant classroom learning with meaningful real-world experiences, improving educational outcomes one student at a time.

The curriculum is based on three pillars:

  • Personalization: Personal learning plans based on each student’s vision, passions, and goals for life following high school
  • Leave to Learn: Opportunities to connect with industry professionals through internships and mentorships
  • 21st Century Academics: A rigorous, relevant, and culturally responsive curriculum focused on deeper learning to support the skills needed to succeed after school, such as communicating effectively and working collaboratively to solve complex problems

“We see the partnership with Why Not You as a tremendous opportunity to bring our combined experience and effort together, in collaboration with our community, to address core social and educational challenges. We are excited to focus this strategic partnership on reimagining education, empowering students, and building community, ” said co-founders Scott Canfield and Garth Reeves.

Why Not You Academy is the first school planned for a larger, national network backed by the Why Not You Foundation and hopes to provide prospective students with a resource and added option to determine the learning environment that best suits their needs. Every student will receive an equal opportunity for success by filling the gap and leveling the playing field, while prioritizing students who have been systematically underserved.

Enrollment at Why Not You Academy is now open for Fall 2021. To enroll or for more information, visit