Aby Cisneros, ‘10

When Aby was in seventh grade, her parents enrolled her at Chinquapin because they recognized the quality of education Chinquapin offered. After graduating from HBU, where she earned a Bachelor’s in bilingual education, she taught Spanish and 9th grade Writing at Breakthrough Houston and 6th grade Math at Breakthrough Birmingham.

Aby is passionate about Chinquapin and wants to give back to the school that gave her so much. When she was looking for a job, she knew it might be a long shot to find an opening at Chinquapin because teachers tended to stay for a long time. Aby said her only hesitation about taking the job was the salary which would mean a 50% pay cut. As a first-generation college student helping her family financially, it was a scary option to consider how little she would make.

But Aby took a leap of faith and a significant salary reduction and started teaching at her beloved alma mater in 2014. She served as the Girls’ Dorm Mom for grades 6-10 her first two years, and then she helped oversee the design and build of the new Girls’ Dorm. Aby served as the Girls’ Dorm Director until 2022.

Currently, Aby serves on the Leadership Team and teaches 7th grade Leadership, 10th & 11th-grade AP Spanish language, 6th grade Math, and 6th grade Science. She’s also the 7th grade Anchor liaising between the Dean of Students and parents—all this, as well as chores and numerous daily campus duties.

What keeps her here?
Honestly, it’s Aby’s gratitude for Chinquapin. She’s the youngest of six. None of her siblings went to college, as the expectation had always been to graduate from high school and go to work. While her siblings are all successful, she says her parents “really wanted to get it right” with Aby. They wanted to provide her with opportunities her siblings didn’t have. As a Chinquapin student, Aby traveled to Montana and Yosemite National Park with The Woods Project and France and Spain with World Learning. She recognizes that she wouldn’t have found her way to these incredible experiences had it not been for Chinquapin. Even applying to college – no one in her family had done that before.

Chinquapin not only changed Aby’s life but also positively impacted her family. She can mentor her nieces, nephews, and cousins and share all she learned at Chinquapin with them. She reflects on all that Chinquapin gave her and believes that Chinquapin can do the same for many other young people. Aby sees herself and her family in many current Chinquapin students and families. Just as Chinquapin always gave Aby the support she needed, she is now part of transforming the lives of her students.


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