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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 thought leader in education, who became a viral sensation after the popular blog Humans of New York featured one of scholars, naming her as the most influential person in his life. Her work of opening a school to close the prison, was evident in Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn she founded in 2010 and served as the principal for ten years.

Named LinkedIn’s 2019 Top 10 Voices in Education and the recipient of the 2015 Black Girls Rock award–alongside Michelle Obama– she has been featured throughout various media outlets that include New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, the Ellen Degeneres Show, Good Morning America, and the Today Show. Dr. Lopez was also invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and selected as one of the Varkey Foundation’s Top 50 Global Teacher Prize Finalists in 2016.

She is the author of the best selling book, "The Bridge to Brilliance," which is a memoir on how she opened a school, and a co-author of "Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution." Her TED Talk on the Education Revolution has garnered more than a million views and she served as guest lecturer at the Harvard University’s Graduate School for Education teaching students on the subject matter of Transformative Justice, Education, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

In 2020, Dr. Lopez ended her tenure as principal to focus on her work as a mental health advocate and leadership sustainability after developing a stress-related illness that threatened her life. Shifting from her day-to-day work of leading a school building, she continues to open schools, serves as a global ambassador of education, coaches, consults, and is on a crusade to inspire 10 million educators to impact 1 billion students by 2030 through work and her social platforms.

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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