Mission Statement

The DEI Board recognizes that Compass’ services—especially costly private tutoring—confer advantage to many students who already benefit from significant privilege. We understand that the K-12 educational system in the US is disproportionately under-resourced for BIPOC students, and that admission tests can either fortify the barriers to college access or help erode them.

The role of the DEI Board is two-pronged. First, it will work with the leaders at Compass to make the company’s educational resources more accessible to historically marginalized communities. Additionally, it will work with these communities, especially Black, indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ folks, to create new, impactful services beyond Compass’ typical menu of offerings. 

Second, the DEI Board will help Compass’ leadership to transform the company’s culture and hiring processes to recruit and maintain more employees of color. The Board will identify impediments toward more inclusive hiring within the company and strive to unhinge them. As a company that values the democratizing power of higher education, Compass’ staff and tutors should resemble the diverse communities we aim to better support. 

There is much work to be done, and we are eager to get started!

“When it comes to the college admission testing landscape, there simply is not anyone better than Compass. Their Guide is, without a doubt, the most informative, comprehensive, and accurate source for college admission testing; their willingness to provide it to schools, students, and families as a free resource is an example of their mission toward not just preparing students for the test but also empowering them to make decisions that make sense for the student’s individual needs. Their support of our school, with no hint of advertising, sales pressure, or ulterior motives, is why we are comfortable continuing to invite them into our community.”

Allison Kleiman
College Counselor at Eleanor Roosevelt High School (NY)

Services & Outreach

Compass is a national leader in college admission testing that not only prepares students for the SAT and ACT, but also educates families, counselors, and enrollment professionals on the ethical use of test scores in the admission process. To better support students and make the college admission process more equitable, we are offering a number of cost-free resources to schools and community-based organizations: 

  • Live webinars to inform parents and students about the college admissions testing process and how they can efficiently prepare for the SAT or ACT.
  • Remotely proctored practice tests with detailed diagnostic reports of students’ testing strengths and weaknesses
  • One-on-one tutoring for standardized tests through the Compass Scholarship Program

If you are interested in discussing these offerings for your students—or would like to brainstorm other methods of support—please contact the DEI Board at [email protected]

“I have relied on Compass for nearly a decade to be the voice of knowledge and reason around standardized testing. Their research-centered approach to test preparation focuses on the individual student and rejects a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy, appropriately placing each student at the center of the conversation. This beautifully supports the work that we do with our students as they conduct college research. Having Compass as a partner makes me a better professional and helps my students navigate their testing with confidence and skill.”

Gabrielle McColgan
Director of College Counseling at Castilleja School (CA)

2020–21 DEI Board

Leadership

Jason Garske (he/him)

Co-Chair
Tutor

Born in the East Bay Area, Jason Garske is a proud California native. He received his undergraduate degree from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, dual-majoring in Sociology and Media Studies. During his time at Pitzer, he fell in love with studies about the intersection of race, class, gender, identity, and the social structures that govern society. An avid hip-hop musician, Jason incorporates themes of social justice and allyship into his music. He has even published an essay about race, media, and hip-hop in an international online publication called Porridge Magazine. After graduating, Jason found his niche tutoring high schoolers and finds joy in helping them reach their goals of landing admission into their dream universities.

Nina Kao (she/her)

Co-Chair
Director

Nina Kao is a Director at Compass’s New York office, where she guides families through the admissions testing process, leads presentations on testing practices, and provides ongoing professional development opportunities for tutors. Before joining Compass, Nina was a public school music teacher, first through Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, then with the Achievement First network in East New York.

Ava Corales (she/her)

Secretary
Administrative Coordinator

Ava Corales is one of the Administrative Coordinators working in Compass' Southern California office. In that role, she assists Compass families over the phone and email with various needs and supports the scheduling and quality of proctored practice tests. Ava grew up in the lower income community of South Stockton, CA, where she has seen firsthand how inequities in resources can discourage students from pursuing higher education. She hopes to not only advocate for scholarship students who come from similar backgrounds, but to also help ensure that all students and employees from all backgrounds and identities feel as comfortable and supported as possible at Compass.

Members

Ty Huff (she/her)

Proctor

Ty graduated from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and a minor in Mathematics. Prior to joining Compass, Ty privately tutored students of all ages and worked as a government employee at the Social Security Administration. In addition to her role as a Proctor and Essay Grader at Compass, Ty is a “Mompreneur” and full-time parent. Ty joins the DEI Board to offer her insight, values, and experiences as both a racial and gender minority. She looks forward to implementing initiatives at Compass that ensure equal access and success to Compass’ students and employees.

Kat Jiang (she/her)

Tutor

Kat Jiang is a tutor based out of Compass’s Southern California office. Since joining Compass in 2015, she has worked with over a hundred families across the country. Her time at Compass, while rewarding in many ways, has been a stark reminder of the role of education in social stratification. Having found it difficult to personally support more than a few under-resourced students at a time, she joins this board in hopes of helping Compass define and implement a wider commitment to BIPOC, lower-income, and otherwise marginalized students.

Lia Lackey (she/her)

Managing Director, San Francisco

Lia Lackey is the Managing Director of Compass' Northern California office. In that role she guides families, Compass tutors and FT staff toward success in their work together. Outside of her role at Compass, Lia is a long time community volunteer for educational equity in her hometown of Richmond, CA. She has supported public school students and staff at the elementary, middle school and high school levels within the West Contra Costa Unified School District for the last 10 years, and more recently, under-represented freshman college students through the Richmond Promise program.

Art Sawyer (he/him)

Founder

Art co-founded Compass Education Group in 2004, having previously co-founding another test preparation company in 1989. In addition to his own experience as a tutor, he has trained hundreds of instructors and has worked to develop Compass’s curriculum and software. He writes and researches extensively about testing and believes in empowering students with knowledge about college admissions and testing. He is pleased to serve as the founders’ representative to the DEI board.

Matt Steiner (they/them)

Senior Director of Outreach

Matt Steiner is the Senior Director of Outreach at Compass and spends most of their time leading presentations on admission testing for families and counselors. Before joining the company, Matt focused their undergraduate and graduate research on LGBTQ+ identities and queer activism. Matt wrote their Master's thesis on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order of queer and trans nuns that devotes itself to community service throughout the Bay Area. Matt credits the Sisters for giving them the courage (and language) to come out as non-binary. Just as the Sisters helped Matt find their voice, Matt hopes to be a conduit for LGBTQ+ employees at Compass.

Ericka Taylor (she/her)

Proctor

Ericka Taylor is a Los Angeles native currently residing in Houston, TX. She has her Masters of Education, Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a focus on diversity and inclusion from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Her passion is equity and inclusion for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and socioeconomic status. She is currently obtaining her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education and embarking on a new journey as a Pre K-4 student teacher at Kipp Connect. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, organizing, providing resume/cover letter prep, and event planning.