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. 

“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


Jason Garske (he/him)


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.

Matty Steiner (they/them)

Senior Director of Outreach

Matty 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, Matty focused their undergraduate and graduate research on LGBTQ+ identities and queer activism. Matty 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. Matty credits the Sisters for giving them the courage (and language) to come out as non-binary. Just as the Sisters helped Matty find their voice, Matty hopes to be a conduit for LGBTQ+ employees at Compass.

Ava Corales (she/her)

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.


Jonathan Cortez (he/him)


Jonathan is a social entrepreneur with a passion for learning and teaching. He was a part of the second cohort of tutors Compass recruited in New York in late 2018. A Queens-native and first generation college graduate, Jonathan has spent much of his professional career leading initiatives that have increased access to education for justice-involved students in NYC. He believes everyone deserves a right to a quality education; Jonathan brings this guiding principle to the DEI board, where he hopes to continue to expand access to education to those who cannot afford it.

Amira Danan (she/her)


Amira is a Verbal tutor based out of Compass's Chicago office. Though she is a recent addition to Compass, she has privately tutored both high school and college students, and has even worked with graduate school applicants for whom English is a second language. Her mother, who has taught ESL for nearly three decades, was her inspiration to pursue tutoring and teaching. As a Compass tutor, she hopes to contribute to the DEI board through her experiences as a BIPOC, while also providing insight that stems from her background in African-American Studies at Northwestern University. She looks forward to being a part of Compass's growth as a more accessible and equitable institution.

Damian Garcia (he/him)

External Board Member
Director of College Counseling, Glenelg Country School

Damian has worked in college admission both on the college and on the high school side for 14 years. Throughout his years in college admissions, he has been an advocate for access and diversity to higher education, have implemented programs, served on committee, and lead presentations at regional and national conferences on diversity related recruitment efforts and more. Damian currently holds membership with NACAC, PCACAC, AIMs, and has held membership and presented at SACAC, NYSACAC, and PACAC organizations. As a Regional Director of Admissions for 8 years, Damian found and lead a regional organization – Mid Atlantic Regional Counselor Association (MARCA) who’s aim is to serve other regional admissions folks in the Mid-Atlantic with networking, professional development, resources and support programs for schools and community-based organizations. Currently, Damian directs the PCACAC Leadership Education Certificate Program, which has gained national recognition as a rising star program, currently serves on the PCACAC Regional Conference Planning committee among other roles and co-leads the regional special interest group on First Generation Students. Previously, Damian has worked at Johns Hopkins University, University of Rochester and is now the Director of College Counseling at Glenelg Country School. Damian, born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago enjoys all things Caribbean especially the music and food.

Chris Hardy (he/him)


Christopher graduated with departmental and general honors from Vassar College where he earned his BA in French and Theater before going on to receive an MFA from the New School. He has worked in and around education his whole career, first for nearly a decade as a professional tutor, then in schools for many years as a college counselor and classroom teacher in the IB program.

Ty Huff (she/her)


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)


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)


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.

Ericka Taylor (she/her)


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.