Principal Nadia Lopez was about to resign from her Brownsville, Brooklyn school when one of her students, Vidal Chastanet, called her the most influential person in his life on the blog, Humans of New York.
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us,” Vidal told Humans of New York’s photographer Brandon Stanton. “One time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
Lopez is the founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school located in Brownsville, Brooklyn (one of New York’s most under-privileged neighborhoods).
Throughout the years, Ms. Lopez has not only boosted up the self-esteem of her inner-city students but she has given them a vision.
Founded in 2010, Mott Hall is a traditional public school that Lopez said is often confused for a charter school because students wear uniforms, purple and black, for royalty. Mott Hall has a rigorous “STEAM” curriculum – arts combined with science, technology and math — and an enviable slate of after school activities that includes beekeeping, sewing, African drumming, culinary arts and step dancing.
As an educator, the 39-year-old is pioneering a path of inspired leadership to show the world how under privileged communities can beat the odds and become a positive, global impact.
I had the opportunity to talk to Principal Lopez about her upbringing journey, her new published book, The Bridge to Brilliance, and her unique initiatives, which are setting young lives on a track for brighter future.