Please scroll down to view more staff bios.  

studio teachers 

suzanne vera

Visual Arts Studio 

Suzanne first fell in love with Fort Greene when she moved here from New Jersey  to study painting at Pratt Institute, and she's lived here for the better part of 20 years since then. She's thrilled to be part of amazing community at Compass , located in the heart of the home she has watched grow and change over the past decades.  The people,  sounds, smells and colors of our neighborhood  are at the root of her daily inspiration. Suzanne knew she wanted to be an art teacher at an early age, and has dedicated her professional life to teaching art in charter schools throughout Brooklyn and the Bronx.  She holds a BFA in Painting with a Minor in Education from Pratt Institute, and a Masters in Childhood Education from Hunter College.

Suzanne guides students to make self discoveries through different art making process, with an emphasis on play , sharing, interconnectedness and student interests.  She has taught PreKindergarten through college, and she loves each stage of development for the beauty it brings. She believes that children work best while engaged in topics that they choose.  Suzanne did her student teaching at the Lab school in Chelsea,  followed by art teaching and program direction  for  Cypress Hills LDC,a grass roots local development organization in East New York. She was a founding member of Community Partnership Charter School, formed by a group of families in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, where she  taught art.  She  moved to Bedford Stuyvesant and was the Director of Art Education at Leadership Preparatory Charter School, where she founded the visual arts program, coordinated music and  drama classes, afterschool, field trips and professional development in the arts.  After taking a year off to be with her newborn daughter, Suzanne returned to art teaching at Mott Haven Academy, a specialized school for children in foster care and the child welfare system. In addition, she taught a  graduate level course in Arts Integration at Hunter College. The work of Suzanne's  art students has been displayed  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tweed, Brooklyn Museum, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, pop up shops, as well as local coffee shops  and offices abound.

Suzanne lives in Fort Greene and considers the park her backyard . You can find her there most days, playing with her daughter Asha, a Compass kindergartener.  She is currently working on a series of landscape painting and is part of an group of inspired and active art educators from around New York called "The Salon".


Winona Beauford

Music Studio

Bio coming soon!


ian fried

Sustainability Coordinator

As a Brooklyn native, Ian didn’t grow up around too much nature. However, he spent every summer with his grandmother in Long Island, which is where he began to gain an appreciation for the outdoors. By age eight he was using Sibley guides to identify birds, and would spend hours at the local pond staring into the water and examining small creatures.

After finishing high school, Ian went to Emory University in Atlanta where he studied the transmission of zoonotic diseases between humans, lemurs, and livestock. As part of his thesis, he collected samples in Madagascar and brought them back to a lab at Emory for analysis. He graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Studies.

When Ian graduated college he returned to New York and spent two years teaching at a NYC public school while earning his Masters in Teaching. Looking for a change of scenery, he applied to international schools around the world and decided to accept a teaching position at a private boarding school in northern India. There, he spent two years living in the foothills of the Himalayas, integrating the outdoors into his classroom though teaching Environmental Science.

Ian is thrilled to be back home in Brooklyn and working at Compass. He can’t wait to work with the community to help keep the school sustainable.