Harvest Network of Schools Celebrates 25 Years

Since its founding in 1992, Harvest Preparatory School and the other two schools in the Network - Best Academy and Mastery School - have educated thousands of children, and its influence and impact in the north Minneapolis community has mattered greatly in the lives of individual children, their families, and the broader community. Many of its scholars have gone on to success in high school, college and career, and some have returned to The Harvest Network of Schools as staff. Twenty-five years have resulted in many accomplishments.


  • Hundreds of alumni have graduated from high school and college!
  • 2017 Home of WCCO "Excellent Educator" Loretta Hall
  • 2010-2016 Harvest Preparatory recognized as a "Beating the Odds" school by Star Tribune for seven consecutive years
  • 2016 Home of MN Teacher of the Year Abdul Wright (first black male, first charter school teacher, youngest recipient)
  • 2015 Harvest Network of Schools established
  • 2013 Profiled on CNN's Black in America with Soledad O'Brien
  • 2013 Best Academy receives national honor among top 5 best schools for educating boys of color (COSEBOC)
  • 2012 THIRD school opened - Mastery School
  • 2009 Best East and Sister Academy opened (programs of Best Academy)
  • 2008 SECOND school opened - Best Academy (grew out of Boys Academy program)
  • 1998 Harvest Preparatory became one of Minnesota's 1st charter schools
  • 1993 Prince made $200,000 gift to expand Olson Highway campus
  • 1992 Harvest Preparatory founded by Eric and Ella Mahmoud as a private school (grew out of Seed Daycare, founded in 1985)


  • In 2013 Eric Mahmoud and Best Academy were profiled by Soledad O’Brien on CNN’s Black in America.
  • 2015 Cargill MLK Legacy Award for innovative leadership in business, community, culture, inclusion and diversity, and mentorship demonstrated throughout one’s career (Eric Mahmoud, recipient)
  • Business Journal’s Diversity in Business 2014 (Eric Mahmoud, recipient)
  • Minnesota Business Partnership’s 2012 Future Award (Harvest Network of Schools)
  • Every year since 2011, at least one Harvest Network school has been named a “Beating the Odds” school by the Star Tribune for getting great academic results while serving a high percentage of students in poverty.
  • Harvest Network schools have been identified by COSEBOC (Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color) as one of the five best schools nationally for educating boys of color.
  • 2015 Minnesota Department of Education School Finance Award (for all three schools)


The Harvest Network of Schools was selected to participate in the Charter Network Accelerator, a national collaboration of charter schools that learn from each other’s successes and challenges. The 18-month program shared best practices of some of the top charter schools and networks around the country, allowing each of our schools, Best Academy, Harvest Preparatory School and The Mastery School, to learn from the best.