About Compass

Compass Educational Consulting was established in the summer of 2003 as a solution-focused resource to families dealing with the chaos, anxiety and turmoil caused by having a troubled teen at home.

Our definition of a troubled teen is a young man or young woman who is experiencing

  • Emotional Problems
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Learning Differences

A personal note from Dr. Judi Bessette

Judi bessette I became interested in helping families with troubled teens as a result of the experiences we had with our son beginning over 10 years ago. This bright, talented, funny and charming young man was dealing with adoption, ADHD, mood swings and serious self-esteem issues. He began experimented with drugs and alcohol...and things quickly spiraled out of control. We learned that the genetic predisposition for alcoholism was significant in his birth family.

We were fortunate to stumble across a wonderful wilderness program in the summer of 2002...but six weeks just wasn't enough. Before he competed the first semester of his freshman year at our local public high school (which even back then served over 2100 kids), we enrolled him in a therapeutic boarding school on the East Coast. While he was able to stay away from marijuana, he had a much more difficult time with alcohol. He spent the last six years of his life in and out of treatment...with each period of sobriety lasting longer and longer...but each time slipping back into old patterns.

Alcoholism eventually claimed our son when he was 24. His struggle has taught me a great deal. Addiction is an insidious disease...and, coupled with mental health problems, is even more so. I am convinced without the treatment he had, we would have lost him much sooner than we did. His last two jobs – both held while he was sober – were with programs that helped other young men find a successful path to adulthood. He was good at his work and loved helping others...but ultimately, he was too fragile for this world. I share our story with you because it's why I do this work. It's why I believe treatment is so important.

In remembering the frustration I felt so many years ago when our psychiatrist and psychologist talked about the possibility of some sort of special boarding school but had no concrete suggestions...in remembering the school system's inability to help...I decided to find out if I could do something to help other families. As I waded through the various websites on the Internet regarding troubled teens, I began to learn more about educational consultants and how they work with troubled teens, young adults and families. I became fascinated by the work they were doing...and realized that becoming an educational and therapeutic consultant was exactly how I could help other families!

The depth of consultants' knowledge of available resources as a result of constant travel across the country in order to experience programs and services first-hand really impressed me. As I began making visits, I too had the opportunity to interview staff members to understand the working philosophy of the program; to meet and talk with the teen and young adult clients themselves; to walk the grounds and see the facilities; to participate in clinical and group activities. The knowledge consultants glean through these visits surpasses what any doctor or local service provider could possible know.

I completed the Principles and Practices Institute offered by the Independent Educational Consultants Association (lECA) and have now visited nearly 500 hundred schools and programs. My education and experience, coupled with our personal situation, helped me have a much better understanding of why our psychiatrist and psychologist did not know more - they really couldn't because educational consulting is full-time work!

Parents hire me because I offer clarity and perspective, helping them make good decisions even when they are surrounded by chaos. I also help parents make choices that make financial sense for their family. Traditional boarding schools cost $30,000 to $50,000 for a 9 month school year – and demand full payment up front...an expensive mistake if the teen is expelled! Special needs schools are even more expensive – at $5,000 and up per month – so getting it right the first time is important. Wilderness programs are the same story – usually having their fees quoted per day and running between $325 to $485 per day. Give me a call or send me an e-mail...I'm happy to have an initial chat with you at no obligation. If you like what you hear, we can talk about how we can take the next steps together in charting a course for your teen or young adult!

Doctor of Education (Ed D)

Leadership, Learning and Service

Cardinal Stritch University, 2002

Master of Education (M Ed)

Early Childhood Education

University of Florida, 1974

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Communication Arts

Michigan State University, 1972

Professional Credentials
Certified Parent Coach (CPC)

September 2014

Individual Professional Member

National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)


Professional Member

Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA)

October, 2003

IECA Practices and Principles Institute

July, 2003

CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive)

December, 1997

Harvard School of Education Birth to Three Summer Program

July, 1976

AMI (Association Montessori International)


May, 1975

University School of Milwaukee

Past President


Affiliate of TEMPO International

past Board Member

Lake Country Rotary

Past Club Service Chair

Professional Dimensions

Professional women’s organization

Past President

Other Work History
Rogers Memorial Hospital Foundation

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

November 1999 - 2006

Family Service Of Milwaukee

an affiliate of Aurora Health Care

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Executive Director

Family Service Foundation

September 1993 – November 1999

Community Initiatives Director

November 1997 – November 199

Zoological Society of Milwaukee County

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

January 1991 – September 1993

Growth Design Corporation

Senior Consultant

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

July 1987 – January 1991

Marine Bank

Assistant Vice President

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

June 1984 – June 1987

Dennis W. Laudon & Associates (NML)

Special Agent

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

October 1978 – June 1984

Penfield Children's Center

Program Director

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

August 1974 – October 1978