Husky Football alum and Big W Club member Kai Bynum recalls the positive influence the UW had on his life.
Growing up in Olympia, Washington, Kai Bynum always had an affinity for the University of Washington and knew it was the place for him.
Now Head of School at Lakeside School in Seattle, Kai shares what made his Husky experience unique and shaped him into the strong leader he is today.
Kai recalls fondly, “It was just alive with energy. I had a lot of options out of high school, but as UW became more tangible, it was a no-brainer. I loved it.”
At Washington, Kai played Husky Football. While he enjoyed his time on the team, he says that his greatest achievement was handling his academic workload. Managing a heavy course load while being a student-athlete was something difficult that he really valued.
“UW gave me the space to take risks, make difficult decisions and be vulnerable,’’ he says, adding that Washington strikes a remarkable balance of encouraging students to excel on and off the field; it’s never one thing or the other.
“As a student-athlete, I was able to lean into that culture. It’s a big part of what shaped me as a person. If you can’t be yourself in certain spaces like the UW, you can’t take intellectual risks or make tough choices about life and where you’re going.”
These are the principles Kai brings into his work as an educator and school leader. His experience coaching others has helped him recognize the importance of those who mentored him during his time at Washington.
“I’ve been able to grow through their guidance and their sage advice. Without them, I wouldn’t have the experience or perspective,” says Kai, who spent the last 22 years in New England. “If I can be an ambassador for the school, knowing what it’s done for me, that’s what I’m happy to do.”