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Joanna E. Cain, RN, BSN

Founder and President

Ms. Joanna Cain founded Global Academic Consultants in 2008 with the mission to help young people secure a promising future. A believer in the premise that education can transform lives, Ms. Cain delights in working with students and their parents to help them achieve their goals; she finds deep fulfillment in this endeavor.

Ms. Cain has devoted her entire adult life to education by teaching and training students and clients from a wide range of industries in classroom, clinical, corporate, and online environments. As a published writer and professional editor, Joanna Cain has developed a full spectrum of learning content for educational publishers. She also possesses a corporate background in public relations and communications, marketing and branding, sales and fundraising, international business and social etiquette and protocol, and event coordination.

As a bachelor’s-prepared registered nurse (BSN) with professional training and clinical experience in school nursing, childhood development, pediatric illnesses, and pediatric mental health, Joanna Cain is very adept at helping parents determine educational solutions for children of all abilities, including those with learning, emotional, and behavioral challenges. She utilizes compassion, patience, and appropriate humor to connect with parents and students.

Joanna Cain attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a top-ranked college preparatory boarding school for a summer program, and enjoyed boarding school life so much that she then applied to and attended The Hotchkiss School (another top-ranked boarding school). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Baylor University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Emory University, and a certificate in Legal Nurse Consulting from Kaplan University. She has also completed graduate-level courses in education from Duke University, as well as technical writing, business leadership, and communications courses.

To balance work with play, Ms. Cain has competed in several elite athletic competitions, including the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, English Channel Solo Swim, Maui Channel Solo Swim, and the Lake Travis Solo Swim. She also utilizes her platform, Joanna.Live, to explore personal passion projects, including her blog about rockstars and the life lessons we can learn from their experiences.

Ms. Cain attends conferences and visits school campuses to keep abreast of the latest industry trends. She fosters relationships with admissions representatives in an effort to offer her clients a wide range of educational options. Clients often ask Ms. Cain her opinion of the Operation Varsity Blues scandal that occurred in 2019, and she makes it very clear that she does not accept financial incentives from any schools or programs, unlike many of her competitors. This allows her and her team to recommend schools and programs that are the best fit for the individual student, and not the company’s bottom line.

Kelly Frindell, PhD

Standardized Test Preparation Lead

Since 2001, Dr. Kelly Frindell has worked with thousands of students to help them     prepare for (what it feels at the time) one of the most important events in their life: sitting for a standardized exam. She has taught students who have taken practice tests (or the real exams) who have been disappointed by scores that are not an accurate reflection of their capabilities.

Dr. Frindell’s areas of expertise include the SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, and GRE.    Many of the students she works with have learning challenges, attention deficit issues, and test anxiety insecurities. Given Dr. Frindell’s extensive experience with these exams, she can quickly identify areas that may be of significant difficulty for students and therefore develop a customized plan to address these issues.

Dr. Frindell graduated with Honors from Trinity University with a Bachelor in Psychology degree and possesses a Doctorate in Public Health.


Sadegh Asgari, PhD

Student Research Program Lead

Dr. Sadegh Asgari’s research program provides qualified high school and college students with the opportunity to conduct and complete original and in-depth academic research projects under Dr. Asgari’s supervision. Students can work on projects that encompass a variety of subjects including math, engineering, computer science, economics, and management.

Dr. Asgari, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Merrimack College and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, focuses on developing new technologies and decision-making tools to advance the analysis and design of complex systems. He has written over 30 peer-reviewed academic papers covering a diverse range of industries. Sadegh Asgari’s research is making a global impact, as evidenced by his work being cited by top domestic and international scholars. He also serves as a peer reviewer and subject matter expert to multiple publishers of academic journals.

Dr. Asgari developed and implemented the curriculum for the Master of Science in Engineering program at Merrimack College. His contributions to the program have had an overwhelming positive impact on the faculty and students alike. He is the recipient of the Zampell Family Faculty Fellow, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellow, and Edward G. Roddy Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award.

While conducting his doctoral studies, Sadegh Asgari won the Best Student Paper Competition Award in the Construction Division at the 2016 IIE Annual Conference, the largest conference in the field of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He was also nominated twice for the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by Graduate Students.

Dr. Asgari received his PhD in Civil Engineering and MPhil in Civil Engineering with a minor in Operations Research from Columbia University in New York City, New York. He has also served as a research scientist at New York University in New York City.



George Philip Leboudais, PhD

Humanities Research Coordinator

Dr. LeBourdais works with students to create research mentorships tailored to their specific interests within the Humanities and Social Sciences. Students define their own topics, develop research questions, hone their academic writing, and complete final products they can showcase publicly and on college applications.

Trained as an art historian and curator, Dr. LeBourdais has decades of teaching experience at both the secondary and college levels. He holds a BA cum laude from Middlebury College, an MA with distinction from Williams College and Clark Art Institute, and a PhD from Stanford University in the History of Art & Architecture. His research has been supported by grants and awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the US Fulbright Commission.

At Stanford, Dr. LeBourdais worked in a number of capacities to improve teaching and student experience. He worked as a Consultant to the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to improve and standardize teaching across the university, and served for two years as a Research Program Manager at CESTA, Stanford’s Digital Humanities Lab, where he hired and trained students to work on long-term faculty research projects. He is currently Head of Partnerships at Polygence, an online research mentorship program.

Dr. LeBourdais has published dozens of articles, book chapters, and exhibition catalogues with the field of American art and photography. His current project traces the first photographic survey of the Arctic in 1869 and its influence on our perceptions of climate change.

As a person with omnivorous interests, Dr. LeBourdais encourages students to explore projects that combine the various subjects and fields about which they are passionate. As they are preparing for a future full of careers and job descriptions we haven’t yet imagined, his goal is to empower young people to chart their own path.                              

Prestans Online Academy 

Prestans Online Academy is a fully accredited virtual school that serves grades 6-12. Prestans’ courses feature self-paced asynchronous learning modules combined with live classroom sessions taught by master educators on a weekly basis. Our instructors have previous experience teaching in selective and highly-ranked brick and mortar American independent schools. Prestans’  academic program delivers age and developmental level appropriate curricula using best practices surrounding digital pedagogy. At its core, Prestans delivers the high caliber education that students receive at elite American college preparatory schools, and delivers it in an engaging online format taught by some of the world’s most educated and effective instructors.

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