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brekke and mo
Since middle school, Brekke McDowell has wanted to be a teacher. Getting to know a few dedicated, wonderful teachers led her to understand the profound impact these relationships can have, especially in fostering a life-long love of learning. Brekke graduated from Tulane University. She subsequently earned a Masters in Literature from Tulane, as well. While it was hard for her to leave New Orleans, family in New York eventually brought her back here.
For the past six years, Brekke has been a fifth grade reading and writing teacher at a charter school in Brooklyn. She earned an additional Masters degree in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education. Through kindness and compassion, she seeks to empower students to seek a diversity of perspective, take risks, work their hardest, and treat each other with empathy and understanding. She believes the purpose of education is to foster students' understanding of others, of the world and of themselves.
When she's not teaching Brekke can be found reading (always reading), hanging out with her dog Presley, at the beach or cooking dinner for friends and family. She feels so grateful to join the Compass team this year!
Born and raised in Frederick Maryland, Mo Mathias always loved school, especially science and math. She participated in math clubs, went to math and science camps, and even studied structural engineering at the University of Notre Dame before becoming a teacher.
During two summers in college Mo worked as a camp counselor, where she came to the realization that she enjoyed working with and learning from children much more than engineering. Her desire to teach and love of adventure led Mo to join the Peace Corps as a volunteer teacher post college. For two years Mo taught 5th, 6th and 7th grade math in the village of Okahitua, Namibia where she was fortunate enough to learn the local language, Otjiherero, and get time to explore Southern Africa.
When she completed her time in the Peace Corps, Mo knew teaching was the right path for her.
Upon returning to the U.S. Mo started a new adventure teaching third grade in Brooklyn and studying at Relay Graduate School of Education, where she completed her Masters of Arts in Teaching.
Mo strives to bring adventure and exploration into her teaching and encourages children to explore and take risks. When she is not teaching Mo can be found doing one of the many other activities she enjoys: traveling, running around Prospect Park, playing flag football, playing soccer, cooking, baking, making homemade ice cream, or telling corny jokes. Mo is thrilled to be a part of the Compass community, where every day brings with it a new opportunity for adventure!
mel and marc
Mel Allan is a founding fourth and fifth grade teacher and is excited to teach fourth grade again at Compass! Mel grew up in western Massachusetts and graduated from Syracuse University where she completed the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education teacher preparation program, while also majoring in Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture. She jumped at the opportunity to student teach in New York City in 2014, which ultimately sparked her interest to teach in urban progressive, inclusive schools. After this experience, Mel knew that Brooklyn was the place where she wanted to begin her teaching career. Mel recently graduated from the Math Leadership Program at Bank Street College of Education.
Before joining the founding team at Compass, Mel taught fourth grade at Community Roots. Working with upper elementary students is Mel's favorite because they are so incredibly creative and independent. Even though Mel enjoys teaching and learning about all subjects, math is truly her favorite subject! She believes that children need to have a voice in their learning to help them develop a strong sense of ownership over and love for learning.
Outside of the classroom, Mel enjoys playing all kinds of sports and follows a couple of sports teams pretty closely, especially the Boston Bruins and her alma mater's football and basketball teams. Mel also likes to read and spend time with friends and family as much as possible.
Marc Rudolph is a founding fourth and fifth grade teacher at Compass and is delighted to start his second loop with a new group of fourth graders this year! His journey in education began as a City Year corps member in 2009, tutoring and mentoring elementary school students in Brooklyn. This experience motivated him to pursue a degree in progressive education at Bank Street College, which he completed in 2013.
Marc spent three years teaching third grade at a wonderfully innovative independent school in Boston before returning to New York to gain further experience in progressive charter schools. He is passionate about interdisciplinary education and drawing on student interests to help drive instruction. He strives to help students embrace their own learning, and to understand what it takes to make a difference in the world.
In his spare time, Marc enjoys exercising, reading, traveling, and following professional sports, particularly his hometown Washington Wizards. He also likes to explore New York, both personally and with his students. He can't wait to start teaching this fall!
Luke is very excited to start his very first year of teaching! He is thrilled to start his career at Compass. Luke was born in South Korea and was raised in north New Jersey. He graduated from Syracuse University and was in the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education teacher prep program. During his fall semester of his senior year, Luke took the opportunity to do his student teaching in New York City where he was exposed to progressive schooling in an urban setting. Since then, Luke knew exactly where he wanted to teach.
Luke’s last student teaching placement was in the fourth grade and he is very happy to begin his first year with fourth graders. He loves the way fourth grade students begin to construct their understanding of themselves and the world and is willing to work tirelessly to help them get to where they need to be. Luke loves the diversity New York City offers and is looking forward to meeting all of his students and the rest of the student body at Compass. He loves building close relationships with his students and enjoys building a community where everyone feels safe and respected. Luke always puts his students first and is a child at heart; he seizes every opportunity to get to know them better and helps them grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
Outside of school, Luke loves to workout and his favorite sport to compete in is boxing. He loves watching all kinds of sports and loves to write and spend time with friends and family whenever he can.
Luke hopes to learn from all of his fellow colleagues and students as he embarks on his first year of teaching!
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Jessica has always been a risk taker. She was a member of the first graduating class at the Queens School of Inquiry, an early college school associated with Queens College, and member of the first class of a semester-long science and leadership school for 10th grade girls, located on the coast of Maine.
Jessica is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Inclusive Elementary and Special Education teacher preparation program. Although Jessica loved her teaching experiences in Central New York, she seized the opportunity to participate in the Bridge to the City program for her student teaching, working in both East Harlem and Brooklyn.
Through all of her experiences, she’s realized that she learns best through discovery and risk-taking, and wants to help children realize the benefits of taking their own risks and exploring possibilities.