After returning from three years teaching English in the JET Programme in Japan, Gary was looking to start a business in his hometown of Winnipeg, hoping to translate his international experience into opportunity. The inspiration to start a language school came in December 1998. Recognizing the need for an English school catering exclusively to international students, he contacted fellow JET participant Rennie Zegalski. In January 1999 Gary and the like-minded Rennie set out to create an English school dedicated to international students – and Heartland International English School was born.
On June 1, 1999 Heartland opened its doors at 508 Portage Avenue with a modest three classrooms – but no students. The first student eventually walked through the doors on June 16th and Heartland was in business. It has been growing steadily ever since and celebrated it’s 15th anniversary in 2014.
“Teaching English is about connecting with people. The caring and committed teachers and staff at Heartland make the school the excellent learning environment that it is. As the school grows, we have an obligation to our customers, the students, to continue to provide as much personal attention as when we started with one student.”