Sophia Montessori Academy has been blessed with an incredible team of people on our Board of Advisers.
They are dedicated to Byzantine Catholic Montessori Education, to our students and families, and to the future of Sophia Montessori Academy
Chaplain- Father Brian Escobedo
Father Brian Escobedo was appointed Pastor of Holy Protection in the Fall of 2019. He can be reached at
Board President and Financial Advisor- Rudy Andras
Rudy Andras started learning about Montessori in 2014. Through his studies, he found Irene and Pauline who were presenting Montessori workshops at the time. Since then, he has been a faithful support of the vision and mission of SMA, received his Montessori training from the Montessori Institute of San Diego, and is strong advocate for Montessori in Denver. He is an economist. Rudy is a grandfather extraordinaire, bringing his passion for Montessori to his grandchildren.
School Director and Director of Business Development- Irene Ortega
Irene Ortega took her Children’s House training at the Montessori College of Dublin, Ireland in 2007 and recently completed Montessori training for the Elementary Level in Bergamo, Italy. She is delighted to bring the joy of discovery to children through the Montessori approach. When she is not planning lessons, you can find her playing music, cooking, hiking or dreaming up a new adventure with her husband Anthony. They are parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.
School Director, Secretary, and Treasurer- Pauline Meert
Pauline Meert received her international Montessori diploma from Montessori Centre International in 2008. She later came across the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and was deeply moved by the beauty of it all. She also completed her Master’s degree in Montessori education from St. Catherine University in 2014. She is a parishioner of Holy Protection of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Church.
Business and Financial Adviser- Paul Winkler
Paul J Winkler is the founder of Attollo USA. His work centers on helping business leaders learn how to live an integrated, authentic life by building a strong faith and strong business. Paul has over 30 years business experience in multiple industries. He enjoys his vocation as a consultant and executive coach serving owners of privately held businesses helping them enhance (or start) their business planning, execution and develop their executive leadership. Paul earned his MBA from National University in Irvine, California and a Bachelor of Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. He and his wife Bambi have been married for 36 years and are the parents of four children. They reside in Centennial, Colorado.
Administrative and Curriculum Adviser- Patty Cisle
Patty Cisle is the Director of Evangelization at Good Shepherd Catholic Parish. Prior to that role, she was in Catholic education for 24 years, including 17 years as assistant principal at Good Shepherd Catholic School. It was there that she learned firsthand about Montessori education. Patty is married to Jim and is the mother of three grown children. Her interests include gardening, cooking, and hiking.
Marketing and Data Adviser- Sylvia Smith
Sylvia Smith holds a Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Denver and a Bachelor's in Philosophy from Christendom College. She is a certified Project Management Institute Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA) and currently works as a Senior Business Analyst at Larimer County. She is also a parishioner and chorister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton.
Founding Board Member at Large- Very Rev. Michael P. O'Loughlin, pastor of the Byzantine Catholic Proto-Cathedral of St. Mary in Sherman Oaks California.
Fr. Michael holds a Masters of Divinity from Sts. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA. Father is the Vocation’s Director and Co-Director of Youth and Young Adults for the Eparchy of Phoenix. Father is the Byzantine host of Catholic Stuff You Should Know Podcast, the largest Catholic podcast in the world Catholicstuffpodcast.com. He regularly appears on many different Catholic media outlets bringing deeper understanding of Byzantine Catholicism.