Principal Nadia Lopez: “We can take these children where they want to go”

Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nadia Lopez captured the attention of the nation after being spotlighted on Humans of New York. Since then, she has helped raise more than $1 million for her students and recently met with President Barack Obama and Secretary Duncan in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Lopez reflected on her experience, reminding educators of the impact their words can have on the success of their students.


  1. I very much agree with Principal Lopez idea. I’m a student who attends a very small school with many discipline issues. The kids in my school think it is ” cool ” to be punished. Many do not realize how much bad decisions reflect on our futures. Principal Lopez does not punish these children, she instead explains to them that they do matter in this society. As many know, children whom do nasty disrespectful things do it for the attention.

  2. Great story and I’m following it through Brandon’s site and hope it’s the start of a new transformation education of Humans and not the careless system of Urban education and teaching of the present and past.

  3. Schools and juvenile hall — treating kids like prisoners.

    What’s the difference between mentoring programs and education? Where’s the line between the nanny state overstepping its bounds, and respecting familial choice? On a very real level, any time you reach out to a student about not giving up, about going to college, about not dropping out — you’re sending a very important message. But part of that message includes a rejection of a failed family’s values. Put another way, we’re telling some families that their values are wrong, and that our values are right. How you justify that in a free society, I have no idea.

    So maybe we’re not so free after all.

  4. I agree with everything you say. However, with the indoctrination of “Common Core” in 43 states, everything is mandated to teachers today. The government has chosen to dictate every step of curriculum & teacher evaluation. The teachers I know have lost all faith in what public schools use to stand for. Of course, teachers care & do their best, but schedules are completely jam packed with meetings, constant assessments, data keeping & daily reporting to parents & administrators.

  5. Bravo Principal Lopez! Having been a Social Worker for the DOE in CrownHeights and Brownsville for many years, I can say that your words are golden. These students are in desperate need of people to listen to them, understand their human experience, and encourage their dreams and their gifts, and”take them where they want to go”. My brilliant principal, Nyree Dixon of PS 12 always believed in this philosophy and instilled this approach throughout her school. It opens up the world of possibilities for our children!

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