West Virginia Academy was announced as a finalist for the prestigious 2023 Yass Prize Award for education. Co-founders Heidi Treu and John Treu were on hand at the announcement ceremony in New York City where Heidi accepted the award on behalf of West Virginia's first-ever charter school. The Yass Prize is regarded as the Pulitzer Prize within education reform and the school was selected as one of only nine finalists out of over 2,600 applicants. The grand prize was also announced that same evening and was awarded to Valiant Cross Academy, an innovative faith-based school in Montgomery Alabama. Finalists will receive $500,000 in funding for program implementation and expansion and, more importantly, join a prestigious network of the top innovators in education today. West Virginia Academy, which is a free public charter school located in Morgantown, is the first-ever Yass Prize Finalist from the state of West Virginia.
The Yass Prize rewards programs that are sustainable, transformational, outstanding, and permissionless and finalists were selected based on a rigorous assessment involving an initial application, multiple interviews, a site visit, and participation in several workshops and conferences held in Cleveland, Miami, New York, and virtually. "The selection committees really got to know our programs and vision as a school through this process," said Heidi Treu. "Its members have been pioneers of educational choice and the charter school movement for thirty years and they know exactly what programs produce successful results for children. Our selection as a finalist is both an honor and another confirmation that our educational programs are effective and working. We will now be able to enhance and expand our programs for the hundreds of families we serve and we're also patched into a network of educational innovators that will keep us dialed into the lastest innovations in education going forward. This is a huge moment for the state of West Virginia and our organization is excited to bring academic excellence to many more students in our community."