Ben Rengstorf, a 2016 Saint Paul College Culinary Arts program alum, was named the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year by the
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). This prestigious award is presented to educators who demonstrate excellence in the classroom and passion, commitment, and creativity to help students make the most of their opportunities. He was presented with this award on May 8 during the 2022 National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. Ben was recognized for his innovative culinary arts and restaurant management teaching techniques and his trailblazing commitment to students and the ProStart program, which trains high school students in culinary arts and restaurant management skills.
Mr. Rengstorf teaches Culinary Arts at Roosevelt High School and launched their ProStart program in 2019, the first ProStart program in the Minneapolis Public School District.
ProStart® is a two-year technical education program of NRAEF found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical education centers nationwide. The program focuses on teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry. He has received the following accolades for this fantastic achievement:
“Ben Rengstorf represents the very best of our ProStart educators, who have navigated some extraordinary challenges in recent years in keeping their students enrolled and engaged in ProStart in a meaningful way,”
Rob Gifford, NRAEF President
“Ben Rengstorf is a ProStart educator of excellence in the truest sense, demonstrating unparalleled dedication to advancing the role of culinary arts and restaurant management skills in the lives of his students while showing a true passion for our industry and its future leaders.”
Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral Corporation
"Though he graduated in 2016, Ben Rengstorf continues to be an excellent alumni ambassador to the Saint Paul College Culinary Arts program. I witnessed his passion for culinary arts education personally on my last visit to his classroom at Roosevelt High School. Ben has created a culinary classroom environment full of adventure and creative cultural exchange, teaching his students valuable life and career skills. We could not be more proud of him and all his accomplishments. I look forward to collaborating with him at Roosevelt High School again this spring."
Sara Johannes, Saint Paul College Culinary Arts Instructor
In addition to his innovative teaching, Ben has launched a 501 (c)(3) organization to support his ProStart students and provide culinary arts resources for the greater community.
Learn more about Culinary Arts at Saint Paul College.