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second grade

CHESTNUT class:

melissa and joelle

Melissa Pirkl is very excited to start her second year at Compass. She is passionate about fostering the holistic development of each child by building a community of learners where social, emotional, and academic growth are all of important focus and all strengthen the community as a whole. She loves nurturing a classroom of students to respect and support each other and watch them feel empowered to learn, inquire, investigate, and solve problems together. She loves nurturing students’ natural wonder for the world with authentic and meaningful learning experiences that intrinsically motivate them to ask more questions, find more answers, and share their findings with each other. 

 Melissa formerly lived in North Carolina. She went to high school in the small town of Denver, NC (just north of Charlotte) and then went to North Carolina State University to study Biomedical Engineering for 3 years. After 3 years, she decided she was not as passionate about her career choice, so she followed her heart into teaching children. She attended Western Carolina University to study Elementary Education and also went on to pursue her Masters in Elementary Education from there as well. She worked at several different charter schools throughout North Carolina that helped shape her practice in creating a nurturing and engaging learning environment for all children. 

After 5 years of teaching in North Carolina, Melissa visited NYC for the first time to visit her close friend from college who lived in Harlem. The city took her by surprise and she quickly fell in love. She saw NYC as a beautiful celebration of diversity and humanity and she felt inspired to take a new step in her life to discover, explore, learn, and grow. She wanted to see what she could offer this city and what this city could offer her. She accepted a teaching job in Harlem and made the leap! 

Along with being a teacher, Melissa loves to be outside biking, walking, exploring, spending time on or near the water, and practicing yoga. She also has a special love for music, reading, and learning new things from a variety of experiences and people, including children! 


Joelle Dupiton was born and raised in New York. She spent her undergraduate career at Wesleyan University studying African American Studies and Sociology. Her own experiences as a student and her  passion for equity, social justice, and interdisciplinary studies led her to education. She graduated from the Relay graduate school of education with a Masters degree and has spent 3 years in the classroom instilling curiosity, strong character, and an understanding of social issues in her students. 

 When Joelle isn't  being her animated and humorous self in the classroom, she feeds her creative spirit through dancing, visual arts, cooking, and traveling. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, and organizing within her community.

She is so excited to be joining the Compass community and is looking forward to building lasting relationships with students, staff, and families.



tulip class: britt and katie

Britt Kroll was born and raised in Indiana, where she also earned her Bachelors of Social Work at Taylor University. She noticed that she loved working with children and families in her experiences as a camp counselor, a social work intern in the midwest and Europe, and a nanny for a brief time in Washington, DC. She worked as a resident teacher at DC Prep Academy in Northeast DC, where she decided that she wanted to become an early childhood educator.

Britt decided to move to New York to attend Bank Street College of Education for her Master of Science in Early Childhood General and Special Education. She also continued to teach in early childhood classrooms in Brooklyn and Manhattan. During her graduate school years, she was able to connect her early learning experiences with an understanding of progressive education, bringing community-centered hands-on learning into her own classroom. This is Britt’s third year working at Compass.


Katie Rust Brown grew up on Long island, NY and attended Syracuse University. As an undergrad, Katie studied television and film production and philosophy, and worked for two years in Los Angeles working on a variety of tv shows. After returning to Syracuse for her master's degree in education, Katie moved back to NYC and began teaching in Brooklyn. This will be Katie's ninth year teaching in the city and her fourth year at Compass!

Katie especially loves the integrated study curriculum at Compass, and loves the challenge of teaching expected student standards in an engaging and hands-on way. She particularly loves getting students out of the classroom and into the "real world" to teach about the class' study topics. Katie's love of inquiry-based teaching has been validated in the past four years, as she's watched her daughter, Harper, learn through her curiosity and play. Katie also has a daughter named Rose, born in February of 2019.

Outside of teaching, Katie loves to spend time with her family exploring New York City for all of its wonderful experiences and especially loves attending concerts with her husband, Sheldon.