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.
Diane Martinez '78- Board Chair
Former Mayor, City of Paramount
El Rancho U.S.D., Teacher (retired)
Diane J. Martinez is a graduate of Our Lady of the Rosary School and Pius X High School ’78. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from California State University, Long Beach, then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She spent over 30 years of her teaching career in the classroom and also served as a Reading Resource Coach.
She served as Mayor and a City Council Member for the City of Paramount from 1994 - 2019. During her term in office, she also served as President of California Contract Cities Association representing 70 cities with more than 7 million residents. She was recently appointed to Lakewood Regional Medical Center Governing Board and also serves on the Los Cerritos YMCA of Greater Long Beach Board. In her spare time, she enjoys playing golf, traveling, reading and attending Country music concerts. Ms. Martinez is honored to be on the board to support her Alma Mater.
Chief of Staff, Department of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Nancy Kim-Portillo has served on the PMA Advisory Board since 2016 , serving as board chair from 2018-2020, 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 www.onwardscholars.org 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 (2013-2018) 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.
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.
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.
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.
|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 '72
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.
|Dr. James McAndrews
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Dr. James McAndrews is a native of southern California. He attended St. Mel grammar school and Crespi Carmelite High School. He was graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where he received his BS in Biochemistry. Dr. McAndrews received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Southern California. During dental school, he was involved in several committees, service organizations, and served as class president all four years. He completed his training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at University of Southern California/Los Angeles County Medical Center. Following his residency Dr. McAndrews joined the attending staff at USC/LAC Medical Center, Keck Medical Center of USC and Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC where continues to educate and train the residents. Dr. McAndrews is a Diplomate of both the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and National Dental Board of Anesthesiology. He is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, International College of Dentists, American College of Dentists, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He is committed to giving back to his profession and community. Dr. McAndrews lectures regularly to students, residents, and his peers; he has authored several scientific papers and contributed chapters to textbooks. He has received awards from the American Society of Pediatric Dentistry, USC Mobile Clinic, Young & Healthy, and the University of Southern California. In 2016, Dr. McAndrews was recognized by the USC School of Dentistry for his 25 years of Outstanding Service. Dr. McAndrews supports at risk and underserved children and youths through his volunteer service with Homeboy Industries, Young & Health of Pasadena, and St. Michael’s School of south-central Los Angeles. Dr. McAndrews served as the chair of St. Michael’s School Advisory Board. He currently supporting the needs Don Bosco Technical Institute.
|Jeanie McHatton '64
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
Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the US Army
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 '99
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.
| Fr. Samuel W. Ward
Vocations Director, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Father Samuel W. Ward was ordained a Priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 31, 2003, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He celebrated his First Masses of Thanksgiving as a priest at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church on June 1, 2003, the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.
Father Sam is currently the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese. He was Pastor of St. Helen Church in South Gate, CA from 2008-2013. Previously he was Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Santa Clarita (2007-2008) and St. Emydius Church in Lynwood (2003-2007). He has served as Chaplain at St. Matthias High School/St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey for the last 17 years. He currently resides at Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale. He was Recording Secretary for the Council of Priests (2004-2008) and San Pedro Regional Representative for the Council of Priests (2010-2012) and served as Secretary/Treasurer for the Council of Priests (20011-2012). He has been a member of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a fraternal group of Catholic priests, for ten years. Father Sam received a M.A. Theology and M. Divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA in 2003 and a B.A. Philosophy from St. John’s Seminary College in 2000. He graduated from UC Irvine Cum Laude with a B.A. History and B.A. Psychology & Social Behavior (1995). Father Sam was raised in and attended public schools in Oak Park, CA and graduated from Oak Park High School in 1989. Baptized at St. Genevieve Church in Panorama City, CA, he received his First Holy Communion (1979) and Confirmation (1985) at St. Jude Church, Westlake Village. Father Sam is the third of four boys born to Edward Ward of Oak Park, CA and Vivian Ward of Agoura Hills, CA and has five wonderful nieces and nephews.
Mayor Emeritus, City of Downey
Downey City Council Member
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 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 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.
Attorney, Alvarado Smith
Raul is the Los Angeles Managing Shareholder at AlvaradoSmith. He supervises a team of attorneys who support his significant book of business, and he drives the office’s productivity and profitability. Both for his professional requirements and on behalf of numerous nonprofits, he is well versed in reviewing and evaluating financial statements, audit reports and budgetary models. An equity owner since 1996, Raul has managed the firm’s growth into one of the nation’s largest minority owned law firms. Raul Salinas is a strategic business and management partner with the ability to constructively evaluate, support and challenge business strategies and initiatives. Collaborative by nature, he is humbly inquisitive, and a leader at work, in various nonprofit organizations, and in the community. Raul serves as General Counsel to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, based in Washington, D.C. He is a Board Chair of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, a Board Member of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, and the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce. Over the course of the last ten years, for each of these organizations he has served in various leadership capacities, including chair of the audit committee, treasurer and member of the executive committee. Raul has also served previously as general counsel for a federally qualified health clinic serving the Los Angeles region and Orange County. As an Alumni of Pius X High School, 1978, he looks forward to engaging in opportunities to serve his Alma mater as a member of the PMA Advisory Board.