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Nadia Lopez        

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

Dr. Nadia Lopez stands as a beacon of innovation in education, celebrated globally for her transformative impact. Her journey to prominence began with a viral sensation when Humans of New York spotlighted her groundbreaking initiative to establish a school aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration in Brownsville, Brooklyn—an area long plagued by neglect and danger. Since then, her trailblazing efforts have garnered attention from esteemed media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Glamour Magazine, as well as appearances on major television platforms, including Good Morning America and The Today Show.

Recognized as a visionary leader, Dr. Lopez’s accolades include being named a 2022 Yahoo Maker and LinkedIn’s 2019 Top 10 Voices in Education. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize in 2016 and received the Black Girls Rock award in 2015, sharing the stage with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Her influence extends to the highest echelons of power, having been invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and delivering a TED Talk on the Education Revolution that has garnered over a million views.

Dr. Lopez’s dedication to education and advocacy has led her to share her expertise as a lecturer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where she sheds light on the pressing issue of the school-to-prison pipeline. Her global commitment to education is underscored by her ongoing visits to schools worldwide and her active role within the Education Collective of Grenada (ECG), where she offers professional development to educators. Dr. Lopez will also extend her reach as an online professor, teaching on Issues in Global Education at St. George’s University. Furthermore, she is currently engaged in collaborative efforts with institutions like T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC) to pioneer the establishment of a global virtual education center.

A prolific author, Dr. Lopez’s works, including “The Bridge to Brilliance” and her co-authored “Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” have become essential reading in academic circles nationwide. However, her journey has not been without challenges. In 2020, she stepped down from her role as principal due to a stress-related illness that threatened her life. This experience ignited her passion for mental health, wellness, and sustainability, shaping her current role as Chief Impact Officer of College and Community Fellowship, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering formerly incarcerated women.

With a mission to inspire and uplift, Dr. Lopez has already touched the lives of over a million individuals worldwide, with aspirations to impact a billion more.

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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