St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy Recognize your Significance, Seize your Opportunities

Skip to main content

Advisory Board


St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy's (PMA) Advisory Board is comprised of valued members of the PMA community who volunteer their time, talent and treasure and are critical to our success.  They are committed the the school's mission and passionate about Catholic Education.  Together with our staff and administration, the PMA Advisory Board has been the driving force behind our growth and success. 


Nancy Kim-Portillo, Board Chair

Assistant Superintendent of High Schools,

Department of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Nancy Kim-Portillo has served on the PMA Advisory Board for three years, and brings a far-reaching and impressive background to the position. Her professional career includes positions in public, charter, and international education spanning across elementary school, middle school, high school and adult education. She served as an advisor for the state of California on the Advisory Commission for Special Education and was recently appointed to the California Private School Advisory Committee and the California Practitioners Advisory Group. In addition, Mrs. Kim-Portillo is the Assistant Superintendent of High School Academic Excellence and Federal and State Programs for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Mrs. Kim-Portillo is pursuing her PhD. in education with an emphasis in Urban Leadership at Claremont Graduate University.  She has a heart for teaching and continuous learning. Along with her husband and children, Mrs. Kim-Portillo is an active community member in Downey.

John H. Smet

Capital Group Companies, Inc., Senior VP

John H. Smet  grew up in the Midwest having attended St. Martha’s Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan. His leadership has been instrumental to the success and growth of PMA. As an initiative of the John H. & Cindy Lee Smet foundation, he and his wife established the Onward Readers and Onward Scholars program to provide marvelous opportunities for deserving students to grow in faith, in their academics, and in their lives through Catholic education inspires him to also serve on the Board of the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles. Mr. Smet's past philanthropic work has included serving on the board of Habitat for Humanity. In his free time he enjoys gardening, energy saving, watching the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers win. He served as the founding PMA board chair until stepping down from that role in 2018.  He is proud to partner with St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy community in providing a world class Catholic Education to our students. Mr. Smet received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Charlie Steinmetz

JCA Associates and Tiernay Properties, President

Charlie Steinmetz serves as a board member at St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy and is also president of the Steinmetz Foundation whose work supports numerous literacy and educational programs throughout Los Angeles. As a graduate of St. Bernard’s High School in Playa Del Rey he is a product of Catholic Schools and also serves on the Board of Catholic Education Foundation which helps supports scholarships for students attending inner city Catholic Schools. “We have turned struggling bottom-tier schools into real powerhouses,” he says. He is a firm believer of experiential learning and his contributions have brought many opportunities and partnerships to the St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy community including, UCLA, Oceans Institute, and Junior Achievement of Southern California to name a few. In his spare time he travels the world as an archeologist. Mr. Steinmetz holds an MBA from UCLA.


Greg Breen

Dreyer, Robbins & Associates, Account Executive

 Greg Breen was born in Los Angeles and Catholic schools are part of his upbringing having attended Cathedral Chapel for elementary school and Loyola High School (Los Angeles). He has a vast career which includes tax accounting at Pricewaterhouse Coopers and teaching as an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University. He has served as a member with the Hermosa Beach City School District and currently serves as a board member with Art Division and the Hermosa Beach Little League. He Holds a Bachelor's Degree from Claremont Men's College and a J.D. from UCLA.

Stephanie Senteno-Tapia

El Rancho U.S.D., Teacher

Stephanie Senteno-Tapia teaches English and AVID students at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera where she also serves as the Director of Activities. She is a product of Catholic Education having graduated from St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs and going on to the University of Notre Dame where she was awarded a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's in Education.  Ms. Senteno-Tapia enjoys reading, dancing, and spending time with her family.


Diane Martinez

Mayor, City of Paramount

El Rancho U.S.D., Teacher

Diane Martinez is a graduate of Our Lady of the Rosary Elementary School in Paramount and Pius X High School '78 in Downey.  She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Long Beach and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is an Instructional Coach at Magee Elementary School. Ms. Martinez is also currently serving as Mayor of the City of Paramount. In her spare time, she enjoys playing golf, traveling and reading. Ms. Martinez is honored to be on the board to support her Alma Mater.


Mary Rose Jeffry


Mary Rose Jeffry comes from a humble background. She spent K through 12 in Catholic school in Rochester NY. Her uncle and hero was a Catholic priest who showed her the importance of service and the value of education. She was fortunate enough to attend Northwestern University on scholarship. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Rochester and second Masters Degree from Loyola Marymount University in Bioethics. She spent 22 years of her career in a classroom serving in primarily impoverished areas. She is passionate about serving those less privileged and strongly believes that one of the greatest gifts you can give a child is a quality education. Ms. Jeffry considers it an honor to serve the community of St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy.

Raymond Rivera

Long Beach & Montebello U.S.D., School Principal (retired)

Ray Rivera graduated from Pius X High School in 1972 and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts, Teaching Credential and Masters’ Degree in Educational Administration from Cal State University, Long Beach. Mr. Rivera worked as an elementary school teacher for 6 years before beginning his 28 year career as a school administrator. He became a school principal at the age of 33 and served for 24 years as a principal at five different schools in the Long Beach and Montebello Unified School Districts. Mr. Rivera’s final assignment was as principal at Suva Intermediate School in Montebello Unified, retiring in 2012.  Mr. Rivera spends his spare time playing golf, serving as a consultant in Montebello, selling collectibles on ebay and enjoying time with his new grandchild. Mr. Rivera is glad to reconnect with his high school alma mater and proud to be serving on the St. Pius X - St. Matthias Advisory Board.


Oscar Menjivar

Urban Teen Exploring Technology

 Oscar Menjivar is a social entrepreneur, leading and developing new programs for low-income communities in Los Angeles.  A dedicated individual,  he has devoted much of this time to bettering his community.  Mr. Menjivar founded URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT), a nonprofit organization that helps inner-city youth develop leadership, coding and entrepreneurial skills through the use of technology.  He received his Master’s Degree in Learning Technology from Pepperdine University and his Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems.  In addition to his role as an Educational Technology Consultant for The Riordan Foundation (TRF) where he advises school executives on how to implement technology in the classroom, Mr Menjivar served as a Multimedia Arts and Leadership consultant for the USC Upward Bound Math/Science Program.


Jeanie McHatton

Director of Student Teaching, Whittier College

 Jeanie McHatton graduated from Pius X High school in 1964.  She has been involved in education for over 45 years.  During her college years at CSULB, she was an instructional aide for Long Beach Unified School District.  She began her teaching career in the Norwalk-La Mirada School District, where she was a Kindergarten Teacher, Reading Resource Teacher and Assistant Principal.  Additional leadership roles include Assistant Principal with the Paramount Unified School District, Principal with the Whittier City School District and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Whittier Union High School District.  In retirement, Mrs. McHatton remains active in education serving as the Director of Student Teaching for Whittier College and substitute teaching for ABC Unified School District.  In addition she is currently a member of the ABC Unified School District’s Strategic Planning Committee and involved with the Band Boosters and on the School Site Council at Gahr High School in Cerritos.  She has been active at Cerritos College for over ten years, serving on the Foundation Board and was appointed to the Cerritos College Board of Trustees in June 2011, where she served for a year and a half.  In her spare time, Mrs. McHatton loves traveling with her husband and grandkids, and shopping.


Deacon Mario Guerra

Senior Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Dn. Mario A. Guerra came from Cuba on one of the first “Viaje De Libertad” (Freedom Flights) at the age of six and was raised locally.  Dn. Guerra was elected and served as Mayor for the City of Downey from 2006-2014.  Dn. Guerra was appointed by Army Secretary Eric Fanning and currently serves as Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.  He was sworn in at the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon in January 2017.  He served as President of Independent Cities Association representing 53 Cities and over seven million people in the greater Los Angeles area.  He is the current elected Treasurer for the California Republican Party.  Dn. Guerra had the distinction of being the only Catholic Clergy to hold elected office in the country for eight years. He currently serves as Chaplain of the Downey Police Department and is a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.  Dn. Guerra and his wife Ann live in Downey, where they raised their five children and are proud of their three grandchildren.


Claudia Rodarte

St. Raymond Catholic School, Principal

Claudia Rodarte is a proud product of Catholic Education having attended Our Lady of the Rosary Elementary School in Paramount and St. Matthias High School '99 in Downey.  Her passion for Catholic education inspired her to pursue a teaching career in Catholic schools, having taught at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pasadena and Alverno Heights Academy in Sierra Madre.  In 2017, Mrs. Rodarte was appointed Principal of St. Raymond's Catholic Elementary School located a few blocks away from St. Pius X - St. Matthias Academy.  She is passionate about supporting students not only to excel academically but most importantly to develop into compassionate, faith-filled young adults.  Mrs. Rodarte earned her Bachelor's Degree, Credential, and Master's in Instructional Leadership from Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles.  She is a wife and mother of two.  


Kevin Ash

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Rose Bowl Game, Chief Administrative Officer

Kevin Ash has spent his professional career working in collegiate and international amateur sports management.  As the Chief Administrative Officer of the Rose Bowl Game since 1998, his duties include the oversight of all aspects of the annual Rose Bowl Football Game for the Tournament of Roses Association.  He has also served in similar roles with FIFA World Cup 94, the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, and thirteen years at the University of Southern California managing their athletic ticketing and game management program.  Kevin is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a degree in Broadcast Journalism/Sports Information.  While at USC, Kevin played men’s volleyball, and was a member of the 1977 national championship team.  Kevin is married to Kathleen Ash, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation in Los Angeles.  Kevin and Kathy have two adult children, Hilary, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and Connor, a graduate of Texas Christian University’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication.


Margaret (Meg) Samaniego

Onward Leaders Program, Director

Meg Samaniego currently serves as the program director of Onward Leaders, a new pathway for leaders developed by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with support from The John H. and Cynthia Lee Smet Foundation (  Ms. Samaniego, a product of Catholic Schools from first grade through graduate school, believes that Catholic Schools remain the premier setting to nourish faith development and academic excellence.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Preliminary Teaching Credential from Loyola Marymount University and her Clear Credential and Master of Science in Instructional Leadership from Mount St. Mary’s College.  During her 36 years in education, Ms. Samaniego has served grades 1-12 as a teacher of English Language Arts in Catholic, private and public schools.  At the Department of Catholic Schools, she served four years as the Coordinator of Curricular Programs, working with elementary schools on the use of data to drive school improvement and provided professional development in the areas of effective instructional and organizational practices.  Prior to becoming the Director of Onward Leaders, Ms. Samaniego served as Principal of an urban school within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Rick Rodriguez

Mayor, City of Downey

Rick Rodriguez is the Founding President of Rodbat Management Inc. (RMI), a privately held Southern California based corporation.  RMI operates in 18 states, 3 countries and has provided for 1,000 employees.  Mr. Rodriguez and his wife have reached great heights through their professional lives, it is their passion to help others and volunteerism that give them their greatest enjoyment.  In 2014 they established the Living Tree Foundation, a Non-Profit Organization that benefits our returning Combat Veterans and their families.  Living Tree looks for ways to help our veterans which includes providing job training, housing, or arranging therapy dogs for those in need of assistance.  The Rodriguez' are dedicated to serving their community.  It is this unwavering commitment to getting things done that has brought success to their family and is still drives them to take on new challenges.  Mr. Rodriguez has always believed that it is vital to be able to help your community and he has been active in many leadership roles.  He was proud to be appointed Chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Committee for the City of Downey, President of the Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Street Faire Committee Chairman and President of Gangs Out of Downey (G.O.O.D.) while serving as Law Enforcement Chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  Mr. Rodriguez wants to continuing to serve the community he loves and looks forward to sharing his passion, skills, leadership, and dedication with the PMA Community.


Linda Dakin-Grimm

Attorney/Legal Consultant

Linda Dakin-Grimm is admitted to practice law in California, New York and Washington D.C.  As lead counsel, she has successfully handled numerous jury and bench trials, appeals and arbitration proceedings in courts across the United States including the US Supreme Court. Commencing in 2016, Ms. Dakin-Grimm chose to concentrate her practice on pro bono matters, taking on more than 50 unaccompanied minor children in immigration proceedings.  In addition to the required legal work in immigration and state courts, Ms Dakin-Grimm organized and leads a group of interpreters/mentors to assist the children and works to identify resources (scholarships, school supplies, language learning tools) to help the children truly thrive.  Ms. Dakin-Grimm's clients presently attend St. Pius x-St. Matthias Academy, Cathedral High School, Bishop Mora Salesian High School, Sacred Heart High School and Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School among others.  Ms. Dakin-Grimm speaks widely on immigration-related issues.  Ms. Dakin-Grimm has consistently been ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA (Band 1), Benchmark Litigation (Top 250 U.S. women in litigation), and other such league tables.  Her numerous publications have appeared in: The National Law Journal, The Deal, Directors Monthly, Business Valuation, The Lawyer, National Underwriter, Best’s Review, Business Insurance, California Litigation, California Management Review, Corporate Conduct Quarterly, California Law Business, Reinsurance and Verdicts & Settlements.  She is also a member of  the Advisory Board of St. Michael's School in Los Angeles. 


Gary Grimm

Aerospace Engineer/Scientist/Educator

Gary E. Grimm, PhD, earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Physics & Mathematics from the University of Chicago, an Master's in High Energy Physics from Yale University, a PhD in Low Temperature Physics from the University of Oregon, and has several patent credits.  In his aerospace industry career, he participated in building satellites and instruments for remote sensing, i.e., the collection and interpretation of electromagnetic radiation, contributing to the Chandra X-ray Observatory Satellite, the NPOESS weather satellite, and the LANDSAT series of earth resources satellites.  Now retired, Mr. Grimm, translates higher mathematics, the language of physics, and complex experimental findings into everyday language and images to explain the wonders of science and our universe to children.  He hosts Ask a Scientist Sessions at St. Michael’s Elementary School in Los Angeles, Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, Central Catholic High School in Portland, OR, and accompanies St. Michael’s 5th Graders to the Department of Defense sponsored Starbase Learning Activity in Los Alamitos, CA.

Regina Dell'Oro, PhD


Regina Dell'Oro was born in Mexico City, and lived there mostly as a child.  She moved to Washington D.C. with her parents at the age of 11 years old.  She attended Georgetown University where she pursued a Doctorate in Philosophy.  Her doctoral dissertation was published as a book by Peter Lang press; The title of the book is From Existence to the Ideal; Continuity and Development in Kant’s Rational Theology.  While at Georgetown she met her husband, Roberto Dell’Oro, and together they began their family with two children.  She has taught Philosophy and Spirituality at the collegiate level at numerous university's including:  American University, De Sales School of Theology, George Washington University, Georgetown University.   Her academic career came to a halt after her son was diagnosed with autism.  This circumstance motivated her to become trained in Applied Behavior Analysis by the C.A.R.D Center where she devoted many hours working with her son and other special needs children.  She eventually moved to California where she became involved with American Martyrs Parish in Manhattan Beach, starting a ministry for kids and families with special needs.  Mrs. Dell'Oro is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, French and can read German.  


Kevin Ellis

City of Downey, Recreation Supervisor

Bio pending