Physical and Mental Fitness: The Recipe for an Award-Winning Curriculum | Exclusive Interview With Abby Liu of Cypress Montessori School for Winner Magazine | BNS News

Coming from a family of established education administrators, Abby Liu has carried on the torch of excellence to lead Cypress Montessori School (CMS) to achieve a number of notable recognitions in recent years.  CMS was nominated for Top Choice Montessori School of Houston three years in a row, and the school was also nominated into the Business Hall of Fame for four consecutive years by the Houston Award Program.  Leading by example, Abby represents the same balanced strengths of body and mind that she aims to instill in her young learners. Read Abby's full interview, below, to learn about her personal journey of success, as well as what her plans are to best prepare students in the future:

In order for our students to excel in the ever-changing pace of the world, I believe in best preparing them at an early age.

 Abby Liu, Director/ Owner of Cypress Montessori School

Q & A With Abby Liu, Director/ Owner of Cypress Montessori School

What services does Cypress Montessori School offer?

Early Childhood development- Infant to Kindergarten 

How the idea to start Cypress Montessori School come about, and what purpose fuelled the development of the concept?

Cypress Montessori School was first founded by my parents, Mark Liu and Ginger Bian, in August of 2005. Prior to opening, Ginger was an accomplished American Montessori Society certified violin teacher in the Houston community with over 25 years of experience in teaching. She passed away from ovarian cancer in December of 2015. Today, I continue to honor her traditions, Montessori curriculums and legacy.

Which milestones have marked meeting benchmarks towards the fulfillment of your personal goals/ the school's vision and goals?

Cypress Montessori School was nominated for Top Choice Montessori School of Houston 3 years in a row. CMS was also nominated into the Business Hall of Fame for 4 consecutive years by the Houston Award Program. The Houston Award program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Houston area.  


Which steps have you taken for the school to achieve the level of student-family trust that has been nationally recognized? 

Steps taken to assure the success of the overall company are: 1. understanding and learning each student on an individual level 2. maintaining clear, concise communication and relationships with all families and staff.   I want to make sure that each child is equipped with the age-appropriate knowledge and skill, hard work and talent to reach greater success in their future academic endeavors. I truly believe that the benefits of preschool and education contribute to better citizens, occupation and social outcomes in this day and age.  

What part of your education or other experiences do you feel was the most helpful in preparing you for success? 

I attended the University of Texas in Austin where I received a BS in Kinesiology and a minor in Childhood Education. Additionally, I obtained a Master's Degree in Business Administration. I believe that performance in the classroom is just as important as accolades in competition. I was nominated by the Houston Endowment Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Scholars Program, which is chosen by the Houston Community's most promising future leaders. Lastly, I served as the President of Beta Gamma Sigma, an International Business Honor Society for students that encourages and honors outstanding academic achievement in business education. Induction into the society is considered the highest level of distinction awarded to students in accredited business schools; only the most exceptional students are invited.

Furthermore, my collegiate athletics background has allowed me to live a balanced lifestyle, have strong focus, discipline and grit.  I was a former Division I tennis player for UT. My last year at University of Texas, I was ranked no. 61, according to the Intercollegiate Athletics review. After my collegiate career, I have competed and medaled in CrossFit, bodybuilding, marathons and decathlons.  


Which strategies have you found the most effective in growing your audience/ bringing awareness of your service to a larger consumer group? 

Strategies used to bring awareness to our business are a combination of: networking with other small business owners, partnering with complementary businesses, utilizing social media platforms, optimizing search on Google, marketing in local business magazines, flyers and brochures. IG and Facebook page: Cypress Montessori School. 

Which partnerships, if any, have been the most constructive in bringing your goals closer to becoming a reality?

At Cypress Montessori School, we believe in putting a greater emphasis on developing students, not only with a strong early childhood education, but also developing their gross motor skills, talents and overall well-being through enrichment programs. We have partnered with several renowned coaches and elite institutions, such as a former professional basketball player, ballerina, karate and soccer coaches to help prepare our students to develop a strong foundation in character, sportsmanship, teamwork, focus, discipline and grit. We believe in developing well-rounded students to best prepare them for the real world and allow them to be excellent Samaritans.

 I believe that the benefits of a Montessori curriculum and integrated program will allow students to become leaders, gain self-confidence, increase cognitive development, obtain greater self-discipline and obtain better time-management skills at an early age.  

Are there any challenges that made it difficult to continue operation and that you managed to overcome? What was your approach to get past these?

During the 2020 pandemic, we experienced disruptions to operations due to safety concerns, finances, student retainment and the health of employees. We also experienced rising inflation costs and some supply chain disruptions of our food and supplies.

Despite the setbacks, we operated efficiently, budgeted capital expenditures, and practiced social distancing and stringent Covid-19 safety protocols to make sure we stayed afloat.  

How do you balance work, passions/hobbies, and relationships?

Being a former student and athlete has allowed me to balance and prioritize my professional and personal life fairly easily. I start my workdays prioritizing exercise over all my work activities. Exercising allows me to stay focused on my mental and physical health. It allows me to be more productive during the workday, less prone to sick days and stay positive to lead my team. 

After my workout, I like to read my current events, listen to podcasts and answer emails. I create a list of prioritized tasks to complete during the day. The list comprises with tasks that are my highest priorities and it goes on to the lowest. If there are any events or deadlines, I prefer to work on them weeks in advance to alleviate any last-minute stressors. After work, it is essential for me to decompress by making time for deep connections with friends and to pursue my hobbies, such as golf and reading.  



What are your future plans to build on your personal/ school achievements and fulfill your vision for success/ what developments can your audience or clientele look forward to expecting next?

In order to keep up with the modern technologies, AI and the world of automation, our students need to develop more technical skills such as those learned through STEM classes (Sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics). My goal is to incorporate curriculums centered around these skills. Additionally, I would like to incorporate classes that help enhance students' critical thinking skills that will allow them to prepare for the real world. Lastly, I hope to implement curriculums focused on students' mental health and wellbeing, such as breathing practices, yoga and meditation. In order for our students to excel in the ever-changing pace of the world, I believe in best preparing them at an early age.  

We thank Abby for sharing these insights and experiences with Winner Magazine's readers.  If you are looking for Early Education Montessori School Services in the Cypress, Houston Area, we would recommend reaching out to Abby at Cypress Montessori School!

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