Dr. Nadia Lopez, the founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn,was a finalist for the 2016 Global Teachers Prize. Nadia shot to national recognition when the popular blog Humans of New York profiled one of her students, Vidal Chastanet. Asked to name the most influential person in his life, Vidal named Nadia. After the blog post went viral and was shared 145,000 times, Nadia was featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, NBC News and many more. In less than three weeks, Nadia and HONY raised $1.4 million to endow a scholarship fund for graduates of Mott Hall Bridges. Nadia was recently invited to meet President Obama in the Oval Office.

Nadia founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM focused middle school, in 2010 to help turn the tide in a neighborhood that had all but given up on its students. Each year, her sixth graders hold hands and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan to symbolize their connection to the world. Seventh graders take an entrepreneurship class in which they develop business plans for a class contest. Eighth graders prepare to matriculate into the alumni association for continued college readiness preparation. Despite the fact that 100% of Nadia’s students live below the poverty line, last year 72 of Mott Hall Bridges’ 75 graduates were able to enroll in high schools beyond the Brownsville community. Nadia’s school combats the school-to prison pipeline with a stunning 98% graduation rate among its five graduating classes.

An inspiration to students and teachers alike, Nadia hosted the principal forum ‘Challenges of Leadership in Urban Education and the Impact it has on Student Achievement’, in collaboration with the US Department of Education in 2015 and 2016. In April 2015 she was honored with the Black Girls Rock Change Agent Award televised on Black Entertainment Television, where she delivered an empowering speech. Nadia is the author of the inspirational memoir, "The Bridge the Brilliance",  and delivered a Ted Talk on “The Education Revolution" that has been viewed more than a million times.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
- Leadership
- Urban Education
- Youth Programming
- Teacher Development
- Special Education
- Global Citizenship
- Project Based Learning
- Community Development
- Use of Technology in Classrooms
Personal Interests
- Photography
- Reading
- Traveling