This blog post is a little different. Not as long, no sources. Just me sharing how we first got started back in 2006. I finished a book recently called Start with Story by Lyn Graft and in it he makes the case for the importance of letting y’all know our Origin Story. With spring right around the corner, things are blooming again, starting anew, and I thought the timing was apropos.
So, without further ado…Here is why I started Sunrise Montessori almost 14 years ago.
I was pretty peeved!
Probably NOT what you were guessing, right? The year was 2005 and my son, John, was almost 2 years old. He was getting bored with home care, so my sister recommended looking into Montessori schools. After touring FIVE in the Austin area, I was stunned, a little queasy and infuriated! There was a shortage of preschools back then (oodles and oodles of families were moving to the Austin area but not enough child care centers to go around), so everyone was dialing it in. The Directors were unfriendly, the facilities smelled like dirty diapers and looked a little unkept, and the teachers seemed burned out (I was a math teacher back then, so I knew the signs). How could I put John in a place like this?!? In desperation, I started touring both cheap and expensive non-Montessori child care centers, struck out again. But I had to put John SOMEwhere, so I chose a Montessori school and resolved to resuscitate my mission in the summer when I had more time.
I’m a little Type A, OCD, so…
I started keeping track on a spreadsheet (the geek is strong in our family) of the places I’d gone, what I liked and found exception to, and even had a map printed out of school locations. I suspect Rob, my lovingly patient hubby, was getting a little worn out from me complaining and worrying. He kiddingly said I should just go start a school so it’s done right. And BOOM! The idea took root and my research started to change. It became more about WHERE to put a school, how much it would COST, what I needed to make this all WORK and on and on. I couldn’t find anything online though in regards to real estate, so I hired a realtor and asked her to keep an eye out, then lo and behold, two short weeks later, she emails me that a family is leasing their home in an old part of Round Rock that’s gone commercial and did I want to look at it?
Let the cliff diving commence!
I had started some part time businesses back in California before we moved here, so I knew a LITTLE of what it took. Truly no idea though of what it would take to upgrade the 3500sf home into a 4 classroom school, the savings we’d deplete or the credit cards we’d max out, not to mention how astonishingly hard it was going to be. But still, I saw the building and could SEE it…take that wall out there to form one classroom, cover the backyard in pebbles to create a playground, take that window out and put in a front door…and that dive off the cliff seemed not so wild. I called Rob, who toured it with me again the next day, and after walking around, he could see it, too! I looked at him and said, “Tell me I’m crazy now and not to do this.” And he replied, “You’re not crazy.” Now my feet were firmly on the grassy edge, looking down into the hazy nothingness of the future. I gave him an excited, panicked look, “But there’s no time for a loan!” He said, “From what you’ve told me so far, we have enough, and I’m handy, we can do this.” Gulp, eyes closed now, leaning in. “We’re going to risk everything.” And he calmly looked at me and said, “I believe in you. You can do anything.” And with that, I jumped off the cliff into the terrifyingly thrilling experience of opening a new business.
All the things that I couldn’t find back then, all the things I wanted for John, slowly became a reality when Sunrise opened its doors on September, 1, 2006. It wasn’t perfect, far from it. We almost didn’t make it, but by December, I was able to take a paycheck while Rob continued teaching middle school and after making plenty of mistakes, learning as much as I could, getting lots of help, and listening to my heart, I crafted a preschool filled with teachers who are communicative and friendly, with floaters who clean and organize, with warm administrators who train and support. Easy? Hardly. Stressful? You bet. Worth it? Every. Single. Day. Seeing such happy team members and families, witnessing our core values come to life in every classroom and with every parent, and hearing how we’re a second family to so many, I only want to create more Sunrise Montessori Preschools (I have a goal and it’s more than the two locations we currently have…if you are curious, feel free to ask me when you see me).
Every now and then, someone will ask how I took the leap, what’s the secret?, and I offer the same explanation over and over: My husband believed in me. If he hadn’t been 100% in his belief and help, it would have failed. It’s emotionally exhausting trying with all your might to do something difficult and having no one believe in you (I can recount many people that year telling me that I was going to ruin my family’s future, that it wasn’t going to work, that I was nuts). For me, apparently all I needed was for someone to believe that I could do it (and a little anger…I am mostly Irish after all).
Bet you didn’t think this was a love story. I sure didn’t think I was going to write this much, so we’re even. Thank you for taking the time to read this to the end. In return, I’ll keep trying my best to make Sunrise Montessori the place where every family belongs and a workplace to look forward to. And of course, reinforcing Rob’s way of thinking. He’s a keeper. =)
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!