Staff Profiles

Get to know the brains behind KMAC!

Kelly MacLean
President and Founder

"I founded Kelly MacLean Achievement Center to help any student or player interested in attending college but unsure of how to make the best choice, get accepted, or get recruited."


Kelly MacLean is the president and founder of KMAC. Her unique background as a College Admission Representative as well as a high school varsity soccer coach provided the basis for the company. Kelly repeatedly witnessed high school students making mistakes in their college search; often resulting in missed scholarships, lack of acceptance at their choice schools, or ultimately switching schools or majors. As Kelly assisted her own players with their college searches, admission issues, recruiting, and ultimately playing in college, she realized how overwhelming this process is for most parents. Due to the success of her players, she was constantly approached by other students and parents to answer questions and help with their particular situations.  College Recruiting Specialists, LLC. was founded to make this service available to any student or player interested in attending college but unsure of how to make the best choice, get accepted or recruited. Over the past 5 years, we have found that 50% of our business is non-athletes trying to find the right school, scholarships and career path. With that in mind, we decided to rebrand as the Kelly MacLean Achievement Center in November 2019 to reflect our goal of helping ALL students, not just those looking for athletic recruiting.

Kelly is a featured expert contributor for Stack Magazine and as well as  currently a member of OACAC (Ohio Association of College Admission Counselors), WISE (Women in Sports and Events), NCAA Compliance Forum, Rocky River Chamber of Commerce, Association of Sport Coaching Education, President of BNI Westside Connections Chapter,  previous board member for OFSA. As of 2018, Kelly is also a certified John C. Maxwell Coach, Teacher, Trainer and Speaker.

With that track record, it's no wonder that Kelly is called "The College Whisperer"!

Erica Papcum
Integrator & Operations Manager

Erica was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she currently lives. She graduated with honors from Saint Joseph Academy in 2011, and graduated from Cleveland State University cum laude in 2015 with her B.A. in Psychology.

She recently graduated from Kent State University's iSchool with her Master's in Library and Information Science. Erica is the mastermind behind the scenes, working on research, scheduling, advertising, and anything else Kelly asks of her. In her free time, she likes to go to trivia nights with her friends, do DIY projects around the house, and spend time with her dog and occasional office visitor, Milo. 

Lawrence Yurick
Education Development Administrator

Lawrence Yurick attended Olmsted Falls High School and graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. He received his Masters in Education with Life Science Licensure from Baldwin-Wallace University in 2020.

Lawrence has what we in the office call a "freaky math brain". He specializes in tutoring all levels of Math, Chemistry, Biology, and English while providing dedicated and personal attention to each student. 

Emily Balodis-Yaya
Success Coach

"I saw students making the wrong decisions, asking the wrong questions, and ultimately choosing the wrong schools. My passion to help students and families make the best decisions about such an important financial investment is what brought me to KMAC."

Emily was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she currently lives. She graduated high school with honors from Holy Name High School in 2010, and graduated from Notre Dame College magna cum laude in 2014 with her B.A. in AYA Education. She also played soccer for four years at Notre Dame College earning Academic All-American recognition as well as Athletic All-American recognition in 2013. 

She worked as the Associate Director of Admissions and Varsity Girls Soccer Coach at a local private high school for four years. During this time she worked with 8th grade students helping them choose which high school was the best fit for students. Additionally, she evaluated applications, essays, and conducted interviews as needed. As well as walking families through the financial aid and scholarship application processes. During her time working at the high school level she also aided in the college selection process for her athletes. Making sure they were taking the right classes, contacting the appropriate coaches, and putting themselves in the best place to be a recruited high school athlete. 

After four years at the high school level she moved on to college admissions. Working at a small private college she was immersed into every aspect of the college admissions process; applications, academic advising, financial aid, scholarships, and anything else that comes to mind when you hear ‘college admissions process’. Much like Kelly, she saw students making the wrong decisions, asking the wrong questions, and ultimately choosing the wrong schools. Her passion to help students and families make the best decisions about such an important financial investment is what drove her to the Kelly MacLean Achievement Center.

Jake Plagens
Success Coach

Jake Plagens was born and raised in Cleveland, OH, where he currently still lives. He graduated from North Royalton High School in 2017 and graduated from and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Communication from the University of Toledo in 2021. Jake earned the “Most Outstanding Student of the Year Award” from Toledo's College of Arts and Letters for the 2020/21 school year.

Following college, Jake began his time in the work-force as an Athletic Events Manager for the North Royalton City School District. Wanting to be more involved in education and learning, he found his way to the Kelly MacLean Achievement Center. While teaching all areas of the ACT, Jake also specializes in teaching different areas of Math, Social Studies, and the German language. It is safe to say History is his favorite subject, as he starts off everyday at the office by writing a “On This Day in History...” fact to share with everyone. What brought Jake to KMAC is his passion for education, helping people, and wanting to see students be as successful as they can and achieve their goals.

When he is not tutoring or studying, Jake enjoys playing and watching sports with his friends, especially soccer. He also cooks and bakes whenever possible and has been doing so since 2008, spends a lot of his time at his local Church volunteering when he can, and is a freelance camera operator for televised sporting events all over Ohio.


Marissa Toma
Administrative Assistant

Marissa joined the KMAC team in September of 2021. She attended Midpark High School, and graduated from Cleveland State University with honors in 2015 with her B.A. in Graphic Design.

As one of Kelly’s assistants, Marissa works behind the scenes on various administrative functions, advertising, scheduling, and anything else Kelly asks of her. If you need an athletic recruiting video, she’s your gal!

She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, traveling, Mexican food, watching Netflix series, and listening to her favorite podcasts.


Walter Schlothauer
Director of Athletic Recruiting

You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”

Walter’s career began as a high school All American, heavily recruited D1 college athlete, having played on the United States Junior National Soccer Team and eventually becoming the Rookie of the Year for the Cleveland Cobras. His professional career lasted 12 years, playing both outdoor and indoor soccer. Once retired from professional soccer, Walter continued to share his love of the game as both a High School Soccer Coach and a Club Soccer Coach. He has been involved in the National Indoor Soccer Championships for the past 12 years, and is on the board of the Central Alliance Soccer Association, continuing to impact today’s youth soccer players.

As a high school and club coach, he witnessed the challenges that high school players face in being recruited at the next level. He saw well meaning parents take the wrong paths and cost their children opportunities. He has always been committed to providing the best expertise available to his players and successfully launched hundreds of college athletic careers at the D1, D2, and D3 levels.

While his own career has been centered around soccer, his love of sports and knowledge of recruiting in all areas is vast. Walter brings the same caring and desire to help our students achieve their goals and help families save money in the process. Walter is committed to helping student-athletes and their families navigate this often difficult process with our carefully crafted methods empowering athletes and families to find the best fit in a school and maximize their athletic scholarship opportunities.



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