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Our Founders

"Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry"

- Bill Daryton

Jitka Smuszko, Director of Business Operations

Jitka Smuszko acquired her Bachelor of Education Degree, with a minor in Child Psychology and ECE Diploma, from the University of Calgary in 1988.  She taught with the Catholic Board of Education and in 1996 Jitka and her sister opened an independent school that they operated until 2015. As Founder and Superintendent of Business Relations of Mountain View Academy, Jitka was responsible for providing leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the school in conjunction with the MVA Board of Directors. She oversaw all aspects of the school including personnel, financial matters, the academic program, facilities and property maintenance, improvement, and operations.  She served as the primary contact (Superintendent) with Alberta Education and dealt with all legal mandates from the Government of Alberta and Alberta Education in all aspects related to funding, reporting and regulations associated with private schools.

Jitka has always been committed in helping to improve the 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 member of the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges Board.

In 2016, Jitka and Lenka once again had a vision and the Village was born. They created a place that allows people of all ages improve their quality of life and where inclusiveness and accessibility is the norm, where people can gather, learn, exercise, relax, eat and enjoy.  

Jitka's passion is what fuels her and what has carried her to continued success,  but nothing has filled her more with happiness, love and gratitude then her husband, children and grandbaby. 



 Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Lenka Popplestone, Director of Business Relations

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 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 for ESL students, LD students, and special needs children, as well as adults. Lenka also taught pre-school to grade twelve in varying capacities, and 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 Human Relations of Mountain View Academy, Lenka was an active participant in the administrative aspects of the school; developing manuals, calendars, financials, and reports for Alberta Learning, as well as participating in an advisory capacity on the Board of Directors and Parent Council. Although she was no longer in the classroom, she mentored teachers and students alike, while maintaining an ongoing rapport with parents.

Children, education, family and community are Jitka and Lenka’s passions.  It’s their diverse experience, dedication and insight that will fuel The Village into a worldwide model for community learning and engagement


 Photo Credit:  dimnikolov

Beverly Hammond, Director of Business Development

Beverly Hammond has been a classroom teacher, Head of School, CEO/Superintendent, International Recruiter and School Growth and Improvement Coordinator with the Ministry of Education. With the knowledge, skills and attributes keenly developed throughout her career and with experience spanning the Classroom to the Boardroom and to the Ministry level, Beverly is well versed in working in complex and demanding environments that require leadership, political, business, public relations, interpersonal and communications acumen. 

Beverly holds a number of degrees - Master of Education (Educational Leadership & Administration, University of Alaska SE), Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science (Memorial University of Newfoundland) and holds professional certification credentials in the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland. She has undertaken doctoral work in educational leadership, spoken and presented provincially and internationally and has designed and delivered a diversity of workshops including leadership, public relations/communications, organizational excellence and, board governance. She is also certified in a number of Franklin-Covey and John Maxwell programs. 

Beverly is a successful, passionate, transformative and visionary leader and is excited to share her passion for excellence and her wealth of knowledge and experience with you!

Beverly is also a very passionate and very proud Mom to Celina (Steve) and Ashley (Ryan) and Nana to Abigail and Caleb.  She’s says that they are the “best” of her!