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Nadia Lopez        

Founding Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy; Leader of "Challenges of Leadership in Urban Education & the Impact it has on Student Achievement" Forum; STEAM Advocate

As an educator, Dr. Nadia Lopez is pioneering a path of inspired leadership to show the world how underprivileged communities can beat the odds and create positive institutions that have a global impact. As the founding Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a New York City Public School. Lopez’s story became a viral sensation as millions of people around the world became impressed with the positive learning environment, high expectations, and growing success rate at a school right in the middle of one of the most under-served communities in America. In 2015 a HONY fundraiser raised $1.4 million to take Lopez’s students on college trips that include Harvard University, Summer STEAM programs, and college scholarships. The success story was shared through numerous media outlets and resulted in Lopez guest appearing on the Ellen Show, visiting President Barack Obama at the White House, and receiving the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College. In addition, Lopez was honored alongside First Lady Michelle Obama with the Change Agent Award at the Black Girls Rock show hosted on BET Networks, nominated as a finalist in the Global Teacher Prize, and became a TED Fellow speaking on the education revolution at TED Talk.

Lopez’s passion, belief in children, and strong conviction has been unwavering in her belief that her community needs strong leadership. Despite the adversities she faced in opening Mott Hall Bridges Academy in 2010, Lopez is encouraged and inspired to see children overcome the “beautiful challenges” of Brownsville, and ensuring that they are admitted into some of the most competitive high schools in New York City. Understanding the power of programming, Lopez continues to impact the lives of children through her “She Is Me” and “I Matter” initiatives, which have served thousands of youth throughout Central Brooklyn by providing workshops, forums, and mentoring.

Lopez continues to influence and inspire the world through her company The Lopez Effect, which offers a blueprint for personal and organizational success.

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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