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Osseo Senior High’s Thanhmai Cao honored as BestPrep Carpenter Educator of the Year

Osseo Senior High business teacher and Business Professionals of America advisor Thanhmai “Mai” Cao was awarded the 2021 BestPrep Carpenter Educator of the Year Award this week. This award is given in memory of Joan Carpenter, a dedicated elementary school teacher who worked closely with BestPrep to create a curriculum that equips students with business, career and financial literacy skills that inspire success in work and life.

Cao was selected from over 700 educators whose students participate in BestPrep programs—including Classroom Plus, Cloud Coach, EMentors, Financial Matters, and The Stock Market Game—to receive the award.

“I try to bring as much outside relevance as possible into my classroom. I invite guest speakers, I provide field trips and as many opportunities as possible for students to apply what I teach in the classroom to the real world. My partnership with BestPrep has allowed me to do that because they connect me with professionals and organizations in Minnesota,” said Cao. She feels the support of BestPrep, which helps to provide educators with resources needed to teach real world skills in the classroom, has helped her students to connect with topics like budgeting and finance that will equip them for lifelong success.

“[Cao] is such a phenomenal teacher! She is so dedicated and committed to providing such a quality educational experience, particularly in the field of business, at our school,” said Osseo Senior High School Principal Sara Vernig.

Cao was honored for her work with students at the BestPrep Annual Luncheon, held virtually on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. 

BestPrep is a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that provides education programs to students in grades 4-12. According to its website, BestPrep has impacted more than 1.7 million youth across Minnesota and provided educators with resources to ensure students are college-prepared, work ready, and career bound. To learn more about BestPrep, visit