College Sage offers assistance to students in our community who do not have the resources they need to successfully navigate the college preparation and application process.

College Sage can assist with:

Middle School YEARS

  • Academic course selection
  • Middle School and High School placement, helping the student and family find a good 'fit'
  • Assistance locating individualized tutoring services
  • Assistance planning and finding extracurricular and summer programs

High school years (continuation of services above plus)

  • Assistance locating standardized test prep
  • Complete College Counseling Services (click through to see complete services)

Pro Bono counseling services are offered by Susan Leadem, Founder of College Sage, and a network of talented community individuals and partners.


Sue Woods understands the value of education and its potential to change lives. Sue joined College Sage hoping to serve the needs of economically disadvantaged young people and their families by sharing her ability to navigate the college preparation and application process.
After an early career working internationally in system consulting, Sue co-founded a set of successful businesses in the Cayman Islands, California and the Carolinas. She served as CFO for her businesses while devoting time and talent to actively support educational needs in her community. In Charleston, Sue served on the School Improvement Council (SIC) for Academic Magnet High School and she has held various treasurer and other leadership positions for school support and fund-raising entities.
After guiding her family through education and life transitions from San Francisco to Grand Cayman and ultimately to Charleston, Sue is excited to share her accumulated expertise – helping more young people identify, create and secure college opportunities. 

Virginia McGee has experienced a successful career as a lawyer practicing in Atlanta, New York and Charleston.    She honed her skills as a writer in the U.S. Attorney’s office and an international law firm based in Manhattan.  After working as a lawyer, Virginia was a legal consultant with Serrafix, a strategic consulting firm focused on environmental, energy, transportation and climate change issues.    She is the recipient of numerous research and writing awards including the Department of Justice Gold Key Award, The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and an American Society of Composers and Publisher’s Award for writing.
Virginia joins the College Sage with experience educating children in three countries – England, Spain and the United States.   She currently has four children in public and private schools in the U.S.    Virginia gained insight into the college application process while serving on the Admissions Committee of her alma mater, Davidson College where she is currently on the board of trustees.  


John Leadem is honored and excited to join The College Sage as a pro bono counselor focusing on the Beaufort and Hilton Head (The Lowcountry) region of South Carolina.  John relocated to this area after a thirty-two year career as a Global Human Resources manager with a major telecommunications firm.  He specialized with college recruiting and university relationships and built corporate partnerships with several prestigious academic institutions.  In his HR role, he also was responsible for community outreach and employee volunteerism and engagement.
John is the father of four children who have all attended respected colleges, universities, and professional schools both domestically and abroad.  He personally attended Cornell University in Ithaca NY where he received a BS in Community Service and Education.  John’s graduate work was accomplished at the University of North Carolina’s School of Global Public Health where he was granted a MPH in Health Behavior and Education.
John currently directs an afterschool tutoring program in Beaufort specifically targeted to disadvantaged and underserved elementary school students.  He feels strongly that building a personal relationship with the individual student, their family, and teachers is critical to their success both in school and in life.  He looks forward to dedicating and sharing his expertise and enthusiasm to the clients of The College Sage.     

Cindy Smithy started her career in software sales to large financial management companies. While taking time off raising her two children, she was involved in leadership roles for local school projects in her Massachusetts hometown. Returning to her original passion of helping today’s youth navigate the complexities of adolescence, she graduated from Boston College with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and as a licensed school counselor. During her practicum , she worked with the English Language Learners in a Boston high school with over 50 target languages and assisted these first generation college students with their college planning and other post secondary options. After graduating, Cindy began working as an Adult Education Counselor helping students who had left high school reach their goals. Now that she has relocated to Charleston, she is excited to help students unlock their strengths and passions to find light and turn it into a dynamic spark. She feels strongly that the power of education transforms and enriches lives and with some assistance along the way, anything is possible.  

Pro Bono Partners Coming Soon....