About Sophia Institute for Teachers

We were founded by Catholic teachers who wanted something different — engaging professional development and more effective materials that require less prep time.

 

Professional Development Programs
 

Teachers routinely tell us that our day-long programs are the best they've ever attended.  

There's a reason our programs are so popular:

First, we try to keep it small, personal, and interactive — approximately 50 teachers attend each of our programs.

Second, we host it at a hotel or retreat center and cater lunch and breakfast, treating you with the respect you deserve.

Third, you'll explore the Catholic Faith with an engaging catechetical scholar, and our master teachers will offer strategies for applying this new knowledge in the classroom.

And fourth, we'll help you deepen your understanding of your vocation as a teacher and the unique role you play as a witness to Christ in the classroom.

Plus . . . 

We offer every attending teacher a complimentary copy of one of our classroom-ready teacher's guides, and . . . 

You'll receive a certificate of completion that can be used to fulfill your continuing education requirements. 

If you are an administrator and would like to bring our program to your diocese, please email us here.

Explore our Professional Development Programs here.

 

 

Our K-8 Catholic textbook series helps you take your students into a deep and lasting journey through the Catholic Faith. Unlike typical textbooks, Spirit of Truth provides you with a full year of varied and engaging lesson plans, helping you create a learning environment that captures students' imaginations while improving knowledge retention.

And because we are a non-profit, the Spirit of Truth religion textbook costs less than other textbooks, enabling you to get a whole lot more for a whole lot tless.

Most of all, Spirit of Truth helps young people integrate what they learn into their daily lives so they can become the saints God is calling them to be.

Learn more about our Spirit of Truth K-8 Catholic religion textbook series here.

 

Supplemental Teachers' Guides

 

Our teacher's guides are unlike any other you'll see.

How so?

From homework the night before to enrichment options once you're done — and all the student activities and handouts in between — you're given everything you need to teach the topic at hand with minimal prep and planning!

You'll find that our guides are not only the most substantive, they're the most user-friendly and beautifully designed.

They've been written by teachers who share your joys and frustrations, classroom-tested by veteran teachers, and reviewed by some of the most brilliant and engaging Catholic scholars.

Each of our teacher's guides feature ready-to-use lessons for elementary, middle school, and high school teachers.

Explore our Teacher's Guides here.


 

You'll be hard-pressed to find a more effective tool for explaining difficult-to-understand theological concepts to your students. Sophia SketchPad is an innovative, engaging, and accessible way to help young people better understand and live the Catholic Faith. 

We have released videos on the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Marriage, Confirmation, and Reconciliation.

We have also produced a viewing guide and accompanying classroom-ready lesson plans to help you use this free tool in passing on the Faith to your students.

View our Sophia SketchPad Videos here.

 

Curriculum Exchange

We've collected countless Catholic lesson plans in every subject and at every grade level — and we are giving them all to you free of charge!

Teachers across the country are uploading their lesson plans to our Curriculum Exchange. Now you can download them and use them in your classroom at no cost!

Teachers are sharing teaching tips on each lesson and writing reviews of what worked and didn't work. With hundreds of free lesson plans at your fingertips, there's no reason you shouldn't start exploring our Catholic  Curriculum Exchange today!

Please share your own lessons! Dust off those lessons, create a Sophia Institute account here, and begin uploading. Each lesson must fulfill our submission guidelines found here. We will approve your lesson within two weeks.

Browse the Catholic Curriculum Exchange here. 

 

Sophia On-Demand

Sophia On-Demand offers online courses and webinars designed by and for K-12 Catholic educators. Each course combines university-level learning with practical classroom applications for only $49.99. 

For only $9.99 we offer short, topic-specific webinars that are packed with practical lesson ideas, guidance from Master teachers, and classroom materials that can be used right away.

View our growing list of courses here.

 

A Family of Faith: Catechesis for the Whole Family

 

The Family of Faith Program is a parish-based program that helps you lead Catholic parents to assume their primary role as educator and catechist of their children.

We take the hassle and frustration out of family catechesis, providing the parish catechist and the parent with an easy-to-use, turnkey solution to catechizing the whole family and helping parents lead their children to heaven.

Most importantly, we provide parents with a detailed picture of what an authentic and vibrant Catholic family life looks like, as well as the tools to implement this life into their home.

Explore A Family of Faith here.

 

 

Our Staff

 

 

Charlie McKinney, President, Sophia Institute 

As President, Charlie defines, communicates, and implements the vision of Sophia Institute for Teachers.

 Email Charlie

 


Veronica Cruz Burchard, Vice President for Education Programs

Veronica leads the Education Programs team’s efforts to carry out its mission through the development of print and digital classroom materials and professional development programs. 

 Email Veronica

 


Jose Gonzalez, Senior Director of Professional Development

Jose develops and leads our day-long and multi-day professional development programs for Catholic educators across the U.S. 

Email Jose

 


Mike Gutzwiller, Director of Curriculum Development

Mike leads teams of teacher authors, spiritual advisors, and scholars to envision, write, edit, and produce our printed teacher's guides.

Email Mike

 


Suzanne Walsh, Director of Parish Programs

Suzanne serves the parishes implenting Sophia Institute programs by sharing best practices and fostering collaborations.

Email Suzanne

 

 
Anna Maria Mendell
, Curriculum Development Manager

Anna Maria writes and edits instructional materials and helps plan our teacher workshops.

Email Anna Maria

 


Shannon McClure, Education Programs Manager

Shannon coordinates the planning and delivery of day-long and multi-day professional development programs for Catholic educators across the U.S.

Email Shannon

 


Chris Beggs, Education Programs Coordinator

Chris coordinates the planning and delivery of day-long and multi-day professional development programs for Catholic educators across the U.S.

Email Chris

 

 

 Academic Advisory Council

Our Academic Advisors contribute to teaching and program materials, co-present at programs, advise on future projects, and review content before publication.

 

Dr. Michael Barber
John Paul the Great Catholic University
San Diego, CA

Douglas Bushman, S.T.L.
Augustine Institute
Denver, CO

Monsignor John R. Cihak, S.T.D. 
Pontifical Gregorian University
Rome, Italy

Dr. Richard Dougherty
University of Dallas
Dallas, Texas

Dr. Anne Hendershott
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Steubenville, OH

Dr. Jason King
St. Vincent College
Latrobe, PA

Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J. 
Fordham University
Bronx, NY

Dr. Stuart Leibiger
LaSalle University
Philadelphia, PA

Dr. David Marion
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney, VA

Dr. Jem Sullivan
Blessed Pope John Paul II Shrine
Washington, D.C.

Michel Therrien, S.T.L, S.T.D 
Augustine Institute &
Diocese of Pittsburgh

Dr. Ryan Topping
Thomas More College
Merrimack, NH

Prof. Todd Zywicki
George Mason University School of Law
Arlington, VA

Teacher Advisory Council 

Our teacher advisors write original lesson plans as well as pilot-test draft resources before publication.

Sr. Amelia, O.P.
Mount de Sales Academy
Baltimore, MD

Sarah Brenner
St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School
Wichita, KS

Jackie Diebold
Mount Royal Academy
Sunapee, NH

Raphael Domingo
St. Andrew School
Los Angeles California

Trisha Duman
St. Joseph’s School
Salem, OR

Sean Fitzpatrick
Headmaster, St. Gregory the Great Academy
Scranton, PA

Don Forster
St. Patrick’s School
Wichita, KS

Susan Freethy
St. Benedict’s Academy
Manchester, NH

Cindy McDonald Kelly
Homeschooling Parent
Melbourne, FL

Mark Lajoie
Bishop Guertin High School
Nashua, NH

Kristen Law
Homeschooling Parent
Colorado Springs, CO

Michael McLaughlin
Austin Preparatory School
Reading, MA

Deacon Chris Paul
Bishop Brady High School
Concord, NH

Beth Raymond
Bishop Guertin High School
Nashua, NH

Cecelia Reynolds
St. Ambrose School
Boulder, CO

Brendan Ronan
Servite High School
Anaheim, CA

Faith Rummelsburg
Holy Spirit Prep
Atlanta, Georgia

Steve Rummelsburg
Holy Spirit Prep
Atlanta, Georgia

Derek Tremblay
Mount Royal Academy
Sunapee, NH

Danielle Urban
St. Patrick Catholic Elementary School
Wichita, KS

Michael Verlander
St. George Academy
Atlanta, GA

Janet Wigoff
Blessed Pope John Paul II High School
Philadelphia, PA

 

 Program Advisory Council

Our Program Advisors offer input that helps us develop materials and programs that meet the needs of Catholic educators across the country.

Fr. John Belmonte, S.J. Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Joliet
Joliet, IL

The Most Reverend Bishop Frank J. Caggiano
Diocese of Bridgeport, CT

Ann Menna
Deputy Secretary, Office for Catechetical Formation
Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Timothy Murnane
Regina Academies
Philadelphia, PA

Monsignor Sabato “Sal” Pilato
Superintendent of High Schools, Archdiocese of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Mr. Ken Willers
School of the Madeleine
Berkeley, CA

SaveSave