What we do

Leading & Learning is a full-service educational consulting company. Our philosophy and approach are based on Dr. Erik Shane’s experiences as a student, a compassionate educator, and a visionary educational leader.

We provide support tailored to your child’s unique learning style and educational needs. Each of our services—tutoring, test prep, shepherding, and educational and college consulting—are uniquely designed to support your child as they evolve academically and advance on their learning journey.

At Leading & Learning

Our team recognizes that no two students are alike and develops personalized programs to best suit each client.

Our team works alongside each student and provides them with a coherent plan and the support needed to realize their goals.

We look at the larger, often more complex picture, guiding the student and encouraging them to do and be their best.

We advocate for students while supporting parents, as we provide students with the skills, knowledge, consistent support, and confidence necessary to succeed and parents with much-needed peace of mind.

Leading & Learning makes something complex (teaching, testing, studying, applying to college, advancing on their academic journey) into something simple and invaluable.
Ayse B.
Daughter attending High School in New York City, New York

Who we are

Leading & Learning is a team of seasoned professionals working together for the good of our clients. We care about our students, their education, and their success in school and in life. As teachers, administrators, and lifelong learners, we understand our clients and the complexity of their journeys. Whether they are an overachiever, underachiever, or someone whose learning style doesn’t fit in a particular category, we know how challenging academic environments can be and understand the struggles that come with trying to achieve success while balancing the demands of life in the 21st century. We support students by bolstering their skills and building them up with the confidence they need to achieve their best. Doing this takes a unique group of people—and that’s what and who we are.

Need More Info?

Contact us about your needs, our availability, process and fees.

Erik Shane

President & Founder

Dr. Erik Shane attended Valley Forge Military Academy for grades 9-12. After Valley Forge, he attended Rollins College, and then went on to complete his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Sociology at the University of Miami. He completed his Master of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in Literature at U.M.

Dr. Shane began teaching high school in 1993. During his first year as a teacher at Miami Coral Park Senior High School, Erik was nominated as the Sallie Mae Beginning Teacher of the Year Candidate. He was awarded the “Golden Apple Award” at Coral Park as Teacher of the Year in 1995.

As a doctoral student, Erik was selected to join Kappa Delta Pi for outstanding performance in Educational Leadership. Portions of his dissertation were published in The Journal of School Choice.

Dr. Shane served as Dean of Students at La Salle High School in Coconut Grove, FL from 1997 through 2015. During his tenure there, the school’s climate survey scores (gauging satisfaction of students, parents, and teachers) were the highest ever recorded–on three separate evaluations by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools across a 15-year period. Ultimately, an embracing sense of esprit de corp and a commitment to meaningful, compassionate academic endeavors are central to Dr. Shane’s operational mentality and permeates everything Leading and Learning does–and is.

As an Educational Consultant, Dr. Shane has placed students at universities including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Notre Dame, and at least two hundred others.

Liz Pozo

Chief Operating Officer

Liz began her tenure at Leading and Learning as a tutor in 2011 while she was studying Biomedical Engineering and Tissue Mechanics at the University of Miami. As she worked through her undergraduate degree, she tutored an impressive number of students toward perfect scores on the SAT & ACT. A few years later, Liz shifted her focus in the company to the role of Tutoring Director. At the same time, she worked tirelessly teaching part-time in three different schools (simultaneously) in order to gain the perspective she needed to guide students. She taught AP Calculus BC (all kids passed the AP exam); Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, SAT, ACT, and State of Florida End of Course (EOC) exams.

Today, as Chief Operating Officer, Liz’s responsibilities continue to expand. As she navigated into the Educational Consulting arena and guided so many consulting clients toward gaining admission to some of the top universities in the world, she also established the structural foundations for our Shepherding Program.

An avid cook (and a good one), Liz is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan. In a beautiful way, Liz continues tapping into her background as an engineer–except now, she engineers the educational and life journeys for our clients.

Jessie Cotton

Chief Information Officer

Jessie leads Leading and Learning’s Research and Development division. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Florida, Jessie sought to make a difference in the realm of education by teaching STEM subjects and mentoring students for nonprofit organizations such as Breakthrough Miami. His interest in academic enrichment and fostering confidence within his students led him to become a tutor and director with Leading and Learning in 2018.

Eventually, Jessie’s experiences as both tutor and director carved out a different role altogether. Well-versed in the areas of education and technology, Jessie utilized his skill sets to streamline and raise the level of tutoring at Leading and Learning. Building upon the company’s tutoring and test prep approaches, Jessie began creating practice workbooks and setting up diagnostic exams that continue to transform Leading and Learning’s programs. Jessie’s considerable knowledge of Project Management Systems has helped to increase efficiency across the company, and he continues in his efforts to help expand the company and improve productivity, playing an integral role in the development of new systems and practices.

When he’s not working, Jessie’s busy making music and building on his skills as a dancer. He hopes to one day retire in a house on the beach.

Paulina Sandoval

Director of Consulting

Paulina is an integral part of our college admissions counseling team. She joined the Leading and Learning team in 2019, after more than ten years working in the marketing departments of top companies including Bimbo Bakeries, Royal Caribbean, and 3M. Paulina holds a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Communications from Universidad Anahuac del Sur in Mexico City and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, Spain.

Her experiences as an international student and businesswoman empower her with a level of operational expertise that is hard to duplicate. She speaks from a position of profound experience and understands the needs of our clients because of her own journey. Within the practice, Paulina was able to organize and develop systems that allow for incredibly smooth workflows, especially in the areas of essay organization and student tracking within our proprietary consulting system.

As an accomplished, experienced people-oriented person, Paulina brings the skills necessary for helping our students integrate into the process in creative ways so that students feel balanced and comfortable during their journey.

Brandon Milian

Director of Consulting

Brandon discovered his true passion for helping others through his experiences working in healthcare. As he navigated that world, he found his way into the academic realm, when he started with the company in 2014 as a tutor–and then, eventually as a monitor.

Brandon has tutored hundreds of clients and Shepherded dozens of students. After years serving in multiple capacities across the landscape of the practice,  Brandon was promoted to  Director of Academic Shepherding shortly after graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Florida.

Brandon’s familiarity with the company’s philosophy and operation approach, as well as his experience in both the monitoring and tutoring divisions make him a fantastic person to serve our clients’ journeys.  Brandon is in perpetual contact with our clients and personally ensures that each is connected with a monitor that will fit the student’s specific needs.

In his spare time, Brandon enjoys spending time with his family, gaming (when his girlfriend lets him!), and taking nature walks.

Inma Silverio

Director of Tutoring

Inma is a National Board Certified Counselor and mother of two sons. Seven years ago, Inma was looking for an Educational Consultant to help navigate the next steps in her eldest son’s academic career. After her first phone call with Dr. Shane , she was certain she had found the right person for the job.

As a client, Inma could see that Leading and Learning was a team of compassionate professionals seeking to care for every student in their practice as if each kid was their own. She uses the years she spent as an academic advisor in both public high schools as well as at Florida State University to knowledgeably and insightfully guide each student and parent she works with to find the effective solutions they often desperately need.  Inma uses her Master’s Degree in Career Counseling to help connect with parents and students, while lending support in dimensions of tutoring as the Tutoring Director. Working at Leading and Learning with professionals that share her passion and commitment for students is a dream come true for Inma.

When Inma isn’t helping the next generation of students, she enjoys traveling (often to Spain), hiking, and spending time with family.

Daniel Benitez


Daniel was born in Atlanta, GA, and was raised in Miami and Orlando, FL. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2009 with a double major in psychology and biology, and a minor in chemistry. After graduating, Daniel moved to New York City, where he worked as a tutor and editor. He joined the Leading and Learning team as an editor in 2017 and moved back to Miami in 2021 to be closer to his family. Today, Daniel is an essential part of L & L’s editing team. In his free time, Daniel enjoys playing sports, acting, and, of course, writing.

Angie Ducounge

Degree Progression Specialist

Angie completed a double major in English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as a minor in History, at Florida International University. After serving in professional capacities at several university level institutions in both administrative and tutoring positions, she joined Leading and Learning in 2021 as an academic monitor.

Angie’s  writing experience and organizational skills were a perfect fit as she worked with  students that struggled to write effectively–and she is a master at creating schedules that better structure her clients’ study habits. Angie’s initial work in our Shepherding program evolved and ultimately navigated her into a full-time Academic Monitoring Specialist.

Angie’s current role has her guiding clients through academic course selection and degree progression within the Shepherding Division, communicating regularly with students to field questions and facilitate their needs.

When Angie’s not bewildering her co-workers with her impressive tolerance for caffeine, she’s outside exercising, studying screenwriting techniques, or staring blankly–awaiting that last burst of inspiration so she can finish that draft of the horror short film she’s been working on for years.

Yesenia Perez

Executive Assistant

Yesenia joined Leading and Learning in 2022  as our executive assistant.  She supports the COO and the entire team by organizing documents and taking notes at meetings to ensure nothing is missed! Years of experience working in diverse office environments has empowered Yesenia to use each skill she acquires to help those around her.

Before joining the Leading and Learning team, Yesenia served as a Certified Veterinary Assistant for nearly six years. Tapping into her amazing people skills, organizational strength, and her efficient style has prepared her well to handle client inquiries.

Please don’t mind her feline children, Greyson and Benito, who have been known to climb furniture in the background or jump right onto her laptop at the most inopportune time during Zoom meetings!

Joseph Rodriguez

Academic Monitoring Specialist

Joseph holds a  second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and is a former Jr. US National Team member. He approaches every dimension of his life from a place rooted in structure, commitment, and discipline. His diligence  and work ethic were the aspects of his personality that led to his promotion from tutor to academic monitor in 2021.

Joseph’s all-encompassing work with students helped acclimate him to the unique challenges students face during their academic careers. As he built up his skillset, he worked to emphasize independence, motivation, and time management skills when communicating with his clients.. Joseph’s time as a monitor eventually led to a full-time position as an Academic Monitoring Specialist. Today, Joseph oversees student academic progress while managing the crafting and delivery of our personalized student reports.

Joseph is currently working on his AA with the intention to study History at FIU and ultimately teach as a professor. In his free time, he enjoys gardening, giving motivational speeches, and spending time with family.

Lacey McLaughlin


Lacey brings more than a decade of experience as a journalist and copywriter to her role as Lead Editor at Leading and Learning. Her journalism career focused on health for regional and national publications including The Washington Post, The Jackson Free Press, and The Daytona Beach News Journal. Lacey’s investigative feature “Kids Having Kids” on teen pregnancy and sex education funding won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award. As a former writer for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Lacey was instrumental in positioning the university as a leader in higher education and creating thoughtful and engaging content to engage students and prospects.

As a copywriter Lacey has helped international brands such as Zumba, as well as nonprofits such as Catalyst Miami to engage their audiences through authentic storytelling and relationship-centered marketing. As a coach and editor at Leading and Learning, Lacey is passionate about helping students find their voice while empowering them through the writing process.

Outside of her role at Leading and Learning, Lacey is a student of holistic health modalities and indigenous teachings that connect the mind, body, and spirit. Her vision is to empower the next generation of students to embrace their authentic gifts and make a meaningful impact doing what they love.