News Story

Detroit Achievement Academy wins $500K Yass Prize as finalist

Competition rewards transformational changes in education

A Detroit charter school won $500,000 in a national competition designed to reward transformational changes in education.

The Detroit Achievement Academy was one of 33 semifinalists for the Yass Prize, as previously reported by CapCon.

Organizers of the prize announced Dec. 14 that the academy was one of nine finalists, receiving a $500,000 prize.

“We know giving education innovators the opportunity to work outside the system that is suffocating so many of them is the most effective way to transform the lives of America’s students,” Janine Yass said in a statement announcing the award.

Kyle Smitley, CEO of Detroit Achievement Academy, described the cash prize and the recognition as a “bright new beginning” for the academy and for Detroit Prep, which was also under consideration for the prize.

Smitley is the founder of both schools. Together, they serve about 800 students.

“I am constantly communicating with my fellow finalists and with alumni from past years, and it feels like our win was by no means the end of something, or the sort of capstone that I thought it would be, but rather just a really bright new beginning to a really exciting next chapter for our two special schools,” Smitley said.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.