Lenka Popplestone, has been an educator since 1990. During her attendance at University, she ran and was successful at being elected Treasurer of the Early Childhood Education Council for three consecutive years. During that time, she also enjoyed volunteering as an ESL aide in various schools in Calgary. After attaining an Early Childhood Education Diploma and a Bachelor of Education Degree with a minor in Child Psychology, Lenka worked with special needs adults, did respite work, and also volunteered in the area of adult literacy for the Calgary Catholic School Board. Concurrently, she married and started her family, becoming a mother of two boys.
Throughout her career Lenka was involved with numerous new challenges in the field of education. She developed and taught specialized programs of study from preschool to high school, for typical students, ESL students, LD students, and special needs children, as well as adults. Lenka has always loved the challenge and the myriad rewards. Her biggest challenge came in 1996 when her sister Jitka and herself established Mountain View Academy; a non-profit Private School educating children from preschool to grade twelve.
As Founder and Superintendent of Mountain View Academy, Lenka was an active participant in the administrative aspects of the school; developing policies, manuals, calendars, financials, and reports for Alberta Learning, as well as participating in an advisory capacity on the Board of Directors and the Parent Council. She also continued to mentor teachers and students alike, while maintaining an ongoing rapport with parents. Although her administrative duties kept her busy, her love of teaching never waned.
Lenka is very excited to be able to carry her love of teaching, and children, to Great Journeys Learning Center, and can't wait to share her passion with the staff, parents and children!
Jitka Smuszko acquired her Bachelor of Education Degree and ECE Diploma from the University of Calgary in 1988. She was accepted onto the Catholic Board of Education Substitution list and thereafter received a contract placement within the first year. She is highly motivated and committed to the teaching profession. Jitka has developed diverse teaching techniques throughout her career. She is sensitive to students' various needs and thus was chosen to work with a specific group of children who were culturally diverse and posed a considerable educational challenge. Design and implementation of appropriate educational programs are her primary functions.
In evaluating and personalizing pupil’s lessons and progress at Mountain View Academy, Jitka has worked closely with psychotherapists, physicians, the Parent Council, the School's Board of Directors, and many other specialists to ensure the most effective program for each child.
Jitka is also committed to helping improve her community and has been an active member within many organizations. She has been a coordinator and teacher at Ascension Parish, has provided various services with the Lung, Cancer and Heart Foundations and volunteered for the YMCA young children’s programs. As a board member of the Calgary Interfaith, she worked hard as an effective fund-raising coordinator. She has also served as co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Children of Chernobyl Association, and most recently served six years as a board member for the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges.
Jitka’s twenty four years of educational and administrative background make her an invaluable and adaptable member of the Great Journeys Learning Center management team.
Children, education, family and community are Jitka and Lenka’s passions. It’s their diverse experience, dedication and insight that will fuel Great Journeys Learning Center into a worldwide model for community learning and engagement