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Nadia Lopez        

Founding Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy; Best-Selling Author; STEAM & Mental Health Advocate

Dr. Nadia Lopez is an award-winning global thought leader, who is redefining education. She became a viral sensation after the popular blog Humans of New York featured her as one of the most influential people of this life. In 2010, Dr. Lopez opened a school to close the prison, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, considered one of the most underserved and dangerous neighborhoods in NYC. Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school, became a beacon of hope for the entire community, where she served as the principal for ten years. Her work has been featured across major media outlets such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, PopSugar, Good Morning America, and The Today Show.

Dr. Lopez has been named Linkedin’s 2019 Top 10 Voices in Education. She received the Black Girls Rock award–alongside Michelle Obama in 2015, during that same year she was invited to the White House to meet with President Obama. In 2016 she was bestowed the honor of global ambassador of education and was recognized as one of the Varkey Foundation’s Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalists. Her Ted Talk on the Education Revolution has garnered more than a million views and she has lectured at Harvard University’s Graduate School for Education, teaching students on the subject of the school-to-prison pipeline. A best-selling author, Dr. Lopez has written The Bridge to Brilliance and co-authored Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that has become required reading at colleges and universities throughout the US.

In 2020, Dr. Lopez ended her tenure as Mott Hall Bridges Academy’s principal as an act of self-preservation after developing a stress-related illness that threatened her life. The experience inspired her to center mental health, wellness, and sustainability as she continues to impact education through her keynote speaking, coaching, consulting, and podcasting. Her overall goal is to inspire 10 million education who will transform the lives of 1 billion children.

Speech Topics

The Bridge To Brilliance

Everything was an uphill battle—to get the school launched, to recruit faculty and students, to solve a million new problems every day, from violent crime to vanishing supplies, but Nadia Lopez illustrates how leadership often means just picking the right people to support you. In middle school, one year lost with an unengaged teacher is a year that can send a kid down a terrible path. And then, of course, there is the educational system itself, how “teaching to the test” is an enormous problem, particularly in schools with kids who are already disadvantaged and underprepared. In Nadia’s presentation, she aims to change the narrative imposed on young people from disenfranchised communities by bringing her message to classrooms far from Brooklyn. Dr. Nadia Lopez is the voice of an industry that didn’t know they needed one, but was sure glad she spoke up.


Principal at the center of a viral blog post: 'I opened a school to close a prison'
"I opened a school to close a prison," she proclaimed to a crowded hall during a live TED Talk in New York on Monday, followed by immediate applause...
Principal made famous by 'Humans of New York' speaks out - Parents
Video: Nadia Lopez, principal of Brooklyn's Matt Hall Bridges Academy, speaks out after a student of hers was interviewed by the photographer behind “Humans  ...
Obama meets boy who inspired $1 million fundraiser -
It prompted. Humans of New York 8 photos. This picture of Chastanet praising his principal, Nadia Lopez, went viral. It prompted Stanton to find out how he could ...

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