“The first concern of a genuine and appropriate educational method is the EDUCATION OF THE HEART of man, just as God made it...”
~ Servant of God Msgr. Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education
Who is Jérôme Lejeune?
Venerable Jérôme Jean Louis Marie Lejeune (13 June 1926 – 3 April 1994) was a French pediatrician and geneticist, best known for discovering the genetic cause of Down Syndrome. He courageously defended the dignity of every human person and is a heroic witness for our times. For more biographical information on the life of Jérôme Lejeune, click here.
"In looking at the stars or the sea, in falling in love with someone, in looking with tenderness at their children, in ardently seeking to know and use nature, human beings of every time, every race, seek happiness: what is true, what is just, what is beautiful."
~ Msgr. Luigi Giussani, address in Nagoya, Japan (1987)
The Educational Programs at Jérôme Lejeune School are rooted in the Catholic tradition and values each student as a child of God. We believe that education is an experience that springs from an encounter that engages our freedom and solicits our responsibility, making life truly human.
Our unique approach to education encompasses the search for human happiness and fulfillment grounded in truth, justice, beauty, freedom, responsibility, the authority and loving witness of the educators, community, and critical reasoning.
Our purpose is to accompany each student on their journey to reach their full potential. To embrace the fact of life as a vocation, and to educate their heart to an awareness of the divine givenness of the world and all that is in and beyond it.
Staff and Volunteers
Sophia Hyginus McConkey
Founding Director and Principal
Holds a B.Ed. from uOttawa, a B.A. Spec. Hons. Psychology, a Montessori teaching diploma from the NAMC and Level 1A training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Sophia is certified to teach by the Ontario College of Teachers and holds teaching qualifications in the Primary, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior divisions (KG through to Gr. 12). She has taught elementary grades at Mary, Mother of God School and Hawthorn School in Toronto, and was a Board member of Maryvale Academy in Ottawa. She has served as the Director of Lejeune School since 2019 and is the Teacher of the Elementary Enrichment Program.
Sophia has also served as a leader in the high school youth group GS, as well as an Assistant Chief in the Otter Lodge of the Federation of North American Explorers Ottawa.
She and her husband David have 2 children who are homeschooled.
Julie Bennett Yates
Assistant, Elementary Program
Holds a B.A. in Psychology & Sociology, and Level 1A (ages 3-6) training in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Julie has many years of experience working as an Educational Assistant in elementary and high schools in Ottawa. She has previously served as a classroom assistant in the Preschool Program at Lejeune School and is pleased to serve as Assistant in the Elementary Enrichment Program.
Fr. Matthew Chojna
Associate Priest, Elementary Program
Pastor of St. Michael Parish in Corkery and St. Peter Celestine Parish in Pakenham in the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall, and a chaplain of the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests. Fr. Matthew has a great desire to be involved in the formative education of the young, and is pleased to visit the class regularly and preside the school Masses.
Teaching Assistant, Elementary Program
With 20+ years of homeschooling her 6 children, grades K-10, Jolene genuinely enjoys working with children. She coordinated the St. Mary's Kids ministry at St. Mary's Parish for 6 years, including involvement in children's liturgy, retreats, and sacramental preparation. Jolene is delighted to assist in the Elementary Enrichment Program as a teaching assistant.
Education, Elementary Program
Holds a B.A. in Math and Music, a Montessori teaching diploma (ages 3-6) from the Association Montessori Internationale, and a Lower Elementary (ages 6-9) Montessori teaching diploma from the North American Montessori Centre.
Jeanette was the Head Teacher of the Preschool Program at Lejeune School from 2018-2020, and currently offers her expertise in the Montessori and CGS aspects of the Elementary Program.
Jeanette is trained in Levels 1, 2 & 3 (ages 3-12) in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and is currently the Level 3 lead catechist at St. Maurice Parish. She also works as a Catechist and an Assistant in the Upper Elementary (ages 9-12) class at Bishop Hamilton Montessori School.
She and her husband Michel have 7 children who have been homeschooled.
Dr. Mark Basik
Events, Lejeune Presentation
Dr. Basik is a surgical scientist at the Lady Davis Institute and an associate professor in the Departments of Surgery and Oncology at McGill University since 2003. He is the Head of the Cancer Genomics and Translational Research Laboratory and the Medical Director of the Inter-disciplinary Breast Cancer Team at the Segal cancer Center at the Jewish General Hospital.
Dr. Basik has been the lead presenter of the public presentation on Dr. Lejeune hosted by the school since 2018.
Jérôme Lejeune School
Jérôme Lejeune School is a missionary work of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation and collaborates with the greater Catholic community in offering this educative proposal, with the blessing of The Most Reverend Archbishop Marcel Damphousse, Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall. Jérôme Lejeune School is a not-for-profit association currently in the process of applying for charitable status.
Jérôme Lejeune School began in 2018 as a Homeschool Co-op for primary aged students and was located at St. George's Parish in Westboro. In 2019, Jérôme Lejeune School moved to St. Stephen's Anglican Church and operated as a Homeschool co-op for a second year. In 2020, Jérôme Lejeune School was put on hiatus and remained closed for 3 years. In the Fall of 2023, on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Jérôme Lejeune School re-opened to offer an enrichment program for elementary aged students in it's new home, the Couvent Saint Jean Baptiste and has been validated as a private school by the Ontario Ministry of Education.
About Communion and Liberation
Communion and Liberation (CL) is an ecclesial movement in the Catholic Church which has the purpose of forming its members towards Christian maturity, in order to make them co-workers in the Church's mission in all areas of society. The name brings together the conviction that the Christian event, lived in communion, is the foundation of man’s authentic liberation.