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Nadia Lopez

  • Education Icon Leading a Community Against All Odds
  • Founder & Principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy

A powerful leader widely admired for her remarkable ability to motivate and inspire others, Nadia Lopez has done the impossible. As founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy (MHBA) she has changed the lives of hundreds of students from Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of New York City's poorest neighborhoods. In a neighborhood where violence drugs, and poverty runs rampant, she has unearthed hope and potential, providing a safe zone where children can persevere, aspire for more in life, and achieve success.  

Through her inspired leadership, Nadia has transformed a community and taught her students the value of tenacity in overcoming obstacles. Her passion for education, coupled with a drive to see these students, teachers, and families succeed is a true testament to the power of the human spirit. In believing in every child's brilliance, she helps them envision a brighter future while preparing them to be empathetic, compassionate citizens of the world.

Magnetic and yet thoughtful, Nadia energizes audiences with her incredible story. Founding MHBA in 2010 with only 24 students, she struggled to keep the school running, despite her own determination. But it was when a student called her the most influential person in his life in the popular Humans of New York blog, her life and those of her students changed forever.

Two days later, a fundraising campaign to give sixth-grade classes a chance visit Harvard University went viral, raising $1.4 million. The world took notice of the ground-breaking educator as she spearheaded a positive learning and promoted high expectations to growing success. She appeared on Ellen and Good Morning America. A personal meeting with President Obama followed, as did the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College. She was honored as a “Change Agent” alongside Michelle Obama at BET's Black Girls Rock.

Nadia is also the author of The Bridge to Brilliance, the engaging story of MHBA and the woman whose vision brought it to life. As a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, she is also co-author of Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that depicts a holistic approach to education harnessing disruption to prepare students for the future. She continues to impact the lives of children through her outreach programs, “She Is Me” and “I Matter,” which serve thousands of youth throughout central Brooklyn with workshops, forums, and mentoring.

Keywords: education, motivation, leadership, making a difference in the world, community, black lives matter, overcoming obstacles, empathy, faith, compassion

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