Nadia Lopez

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Teacher Advocate, Educator & Author

    TED Speakers
    Disruptors
    Inspiring Women
    Education
    Social Justice
    Diversity⸒ Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
    Leadership
    Mental Health
    Corporate Culture
    Latinx & Hispanic Culture
    Black History & Culture

    Nadia Lopez: Biography at a Glance

    • Dr. Nadia Lopez is an award-winning educator who became a viral sensation after one of her scholars named her "the most influential person in his life" in the popular blog Humans of New York.
    • She founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 2010 and served as the principal for ten years.
    • Building on her firm belief in education's role for the next generation, Dr. Lopez is a fervent supporter and advocate for teachers, especially as they experience unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, including extreme burnout.
    • With solid conviction in education being the great equalizer, Dr. Lopez often says she opened a school to close a prison.

    Videos

    Biography

    Dr. Nadia Lopez is an award-winning educator who became a viral sensation after one of her scholars named her "the most influential person in his life" in the popular blog Humans of New York. She founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 2010 and served as the principal for ten years. Building on her firm belief in education's role for the next generation, Dr. Lopez is a fervent supporter and advocate for teachers, especially as they experience unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, including extreme burnout. With solid conviction in education being the great equalizer, Dr. Lopez often says she opened a school to close a prison. 

    On stage, Dr. Nadia Lopez speaks from the heart and hard-earned experience on current student and educator issues. After stepping down from Mott Hall Bridges Academy in 2020, Dr. Lopez continued making her mark and making a difference in education through consulting. Through her company,  The Lopez Effect, she provides workforce training and coaches leaders to build their capacity, improve culture through diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and develop systems to create healthy spaces for professional sustainability. Having gone through a personal journey to support her mental health as an educator in the pandemic, Dr. Lopez discusses how to support resilience when burnout has gripped teachers across the nation. Additionally, she consults with organizations on their goals and the implementation of social responsibility initiatives that impact communities that have been marginalized.

    Named one of LinkedIn's "Top 10 Voices in Education" and the recipient of the Black Girls Rock award, Dr. Lopez has been featured in The New York TimesWall Street JournalGlamour magazine, PopSugar, MSNBC, CBS, The Ellen DeGeneres ShowGood Morning America, and The Today Show. She was also invited to the White House to meet with President Obama and was selected as one of the Varkey Foundation's "Top 50 Global Teacher Prize" finalists in 2016.

    In addition to her career in education, Dr. Lopez is the author of The Bridge to Brilliance, the story of her uphill battle in founding and opening Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle-grade public school in one of America’s poorest communities. In the book, which Essence magazine describes as “essential reading,” Lopez shares her determination in breaking the downward spiral that traps too many inner-city children, the hard lessons won, and how a Humans of New York article was the pebble that started a lucky landslide for her and her team to change lives. Her TEDTalk on the education revolution has garnered more than a million views. She also serves as a guest lecturer at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, providing lessons on transformative justice, education, and the school-to-prison pipeline.

    Topics

    Pouring Yourself Into Your Work Without Emptying Your Cuparrow-down

    For Dr. Nadia Lopez, disrupting education was a responsibility that she felt allowed her no time for breaks. Spending every waking moment advocating for students and educators, it wasn’t until she was hospitalized that Dr. Lopez realized just how much she was neglecting her own needs. In recovering from that incident, she began reflecting on the lack of focus on self-care in the workplace and it was then that she began working on a new type of curriculum - one intended to teach others how to not only avoid burnout, but to thrive in the workplace. 

    In this interactive talk, Dr. Lopez reminds us that self-care is non-negotiable as she demonstrates how to center wellbeing as part of organizational culture and identifies proven strategies to support all members in your organization. Audiences will walk away with practical solutions and exercises to set boundaries, find support, and recharge in the process of pursuing their goals. 

    Teacher Burnout: Supporting the Educators of Today & Tomorrowarrow-down

    A survey of U.S. public sector workers released in October found that K-12 public school educators were the most likely to report higher levels of anxiety, stress, and burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic. Is anyone surprised? After a quick and challenging transition to full-time virtual learning, then the unrelenting pressure to return to school before the approval of the vaccines, to being targets in heated, potentially dangerous political battles, educators have endured staggering levels of anxiety and pressure. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, these circumstances have culminated in teachers resigning en masse, even though they are still passionate about their work. 

    Dr. Nadia Lopez is no stranger to the grip of burnout that the pandemic has on teachers across the country. In 2020, after ten years, she stepped down as principal of the school she founded, Mott Hall Bridges Academy, to focus on her mental health. From her heart and experience, Dr. Lopez offers insight into building resilience— especially as educators navigating an ever-changing set of challenges (the answer is more nuanced than simply “pushing through”)— and the role schools must play to support their staff. 

    Teaching in the 4th Industrial Revolutionarrow-down

    Nadia Lopez knows from experience that it is of the utmost importance for educators to create classroom environments that prepare children to become empathetic, compassionate productive global citizens who are able to navigate a technology advanced work.

    In this breakout session, Nadia will focus on how to overcome challenges that may present in developing a curriculum, getting buy-in, finding resources, and developing partnerships.

    The Bridge to Brilliancearrow-down

    Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a STEAM-focused middle school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, came from humble beginnings. Everything was an uphill battle from the start — every day, a million new problems had to be solved. But despite the arduous journey, Nadia Lopez illustrates how having the right people to support you can make all the difference.

    The same is true for students around the country. One year lost with an unengaged middle-school teacher is all it takes to send a kid down a terrible path. And an educational system that focuses on “teaching to the test” is a tremendous concern, especially in schools with kids who are already disadvantaged and underprepared.

    Dr. Lopez often says she opened a school to close a prison. With the bigger picture in mind, Dr. Lopez passionately discusses the future of educators and shares how educators are vital to the development of the next generation and our future. 

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