kirsten beneke

Sustainability Coordinator

Please scroll down to view more staff bios.

Kirsten is passionate about connecting children with the natural world and educating for Sustainability. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont, she integrated her love of the environment and education through teaching nature programs in local schools. Over the ensuing years, she taught Environmental Education to students from inner city schools across California, New York City and New England.

Kirsten co-founded a non-profit environmental center in Oakland, California, which focused on educating and connecting the community on Sustainability through arts and specialized events. Kirsten went on to receive her Masters in Elementary Education from Antioch University New England with a concentration in Science and Environmental Education. While pursuing her Masters, she worked as a farmer in an outdoor classroom integrating academics into daily farm activities that practice and teach Sustainability. She also interned with Shelburne Farms and the Sustainability Academy in Burlington, Vermont integrating the school garden into the curriculum and creating place based projects.

Kirsten worked as a Kindergarten teacher in Vermont for three years prior to joining the Compass team. Among the many talents that she brings to her classroom, she excels in designing an integrated curriculum that utilizes art and nature to inspire children’s learning. During her free time Kirsten loves illustrating and has a self published environmental children’s book. She is a certified permaculture designer and yoga instructor. Kirsten loves exploring the outdoors, dancing, designing and gardening.

suzanne vera

visual arts teacher

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".

sara kramer

music teacher

Sara Kramer grew up just outside of New York City, where she found her passion for music as a clarinetist in high school band. She went on to receive a BA in music from Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA and an MA in Music Education from NYU. Somewhere along the way, she discovered that there is no greater joy than making music with kids, so she decided to continue on that path. She has taught in a variety of school settings, most recently at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan. When not teaching music, she can be often be found trying to learn new strumming patterns on the ukulele, sewing, or rock climbing. She is thrilled to be a part of the Compass community

Sivanne believes that you should always be doing what will make you jump from bed in the morning and seize the day. It is creativity, connection with people, and the opportunity to share knowledge that light that fire in her. During her eleven years as an educator she has always worked to center her classrooms around the philosophy that a child's spark, when found and nurtured, is what will make this world a better one. At this point along her journey she is working on an ongoing cultivation of the mindful, inquiry-based and experiential-geared classroom where student curiosity, real-world connection, and imagination rule the day. Also a 'hodgepodge' artist, Sivanne has dabbled in being a painter, novelist, culinary explorer, singer-songwriter, social entrepreneur, traveler, and community builder, all of which inform her daily life and educational approach. A lifelong learner, Sivanne is excited to take on her new role in supporting all children in discovering that spark and whimsey that is within us all.

Sivanne Mass Lieber

In-House Support Educator

Bio coming soon...

Tameka Maragh

School Aide

I was born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant. Growing up, I always wanted to become a pediatrician but then I got my first job as substitute at a daycare and my passion for working with children in the education setting blossomed. I began working in a therapeutic setting for children in foster care for 5 years. Working with those children really warmed my heart and made me think on how I can help my sister who is diagnosed with autism. I studied early childhood/special education at York College and Kingsborough Community College.  A few years after that I became a Community Habitation Specialist for my sister through the organization New York Families for Autistic Children. I enjoy baking and event coordinating during my spare time. I am pleased to be part of the Compass community and to share my love and care for children as both a paraprofessional in 3rd grade and a Compass parent!

Kenyadia Goodman


I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I have two sons and live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. I have always had a passion for helping children learn. I am goal-oriented and a dynamic professional committed in pursuing a career in the field of education as teacher, which I’m currently studying. I am highly motivated, dependable, and proactive with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. I enjoy assisting the teachers  in devising and implementing special strategies for reinforcing skills based on the unique needs and abilities of each child.  I am able to utilize interactions and positive discipline to assist in the instruction and supervision of students.  I assist in providing a well-organized, smooth functioning classroom environment in which all children can take full advantage of the instructional program. I attended in NYC where I studied psychology.

Dawn Simon