I’ve just finished reading Nadia Lopez’s new book, “The Bridge to Brilliance” and I highly recommend all educators find their own copy ASAP. Let me explain…
Nadia Lopez is the principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy (MHBA), a public middle school she opened roughly six years ago. Ms. Lopez’s story is one of determination, grit, inspiration and ferocity – she always does what is right for kids. MHBA is located in Brownsville, Brooklyn, an underserved community riddled with gang turf wars and crippling poverty stats so intense that many of us can’t even wrap our thoughts around it. I will admit that I definitely spent some time Google Earth walking myself around Brownsville while reading this book because I had absolutely no idea where the town was. However, as I read through Ms. Lopez’s story I was able to peek inside the lives of the Brownsville students she works with every single day (even during spring and summer break) and feel like I was right there with them all. Wow, what lives those kids lead.
Interestingly, I found many similarities between MHBA and the school I work at here in Victoria. Both places are middle schools (grades 6-8), both have a relatively small student population (roughly 200 students), but of that small student population both schools have many students who are living below the poverty line, both have many dedicated educators and both have powerful and passionate female administrative teams. Most of these similarities, as they came up throughout the story, brought me to tears because I could see myself, my school, and my very own students within the pages of “Bridge to Brilliance”; they’re the east coast American version of us. I Tweeted out to Ms. Lopez and she wrote me back:I think Ms. Lopez’s story, which was brought to media attention in 2015 via Humans of New York, needs to be read by every single educator. Not only will her words make you question your dedication (yes, even those of you who are the most dedicated), but they will also help you see a different side to educating the whole child/the whole community. Ms. Lopez will inspire you with her triumphant successes, but she will also make you cry because of the injustice her students endure. This story will remind you that giving up on a child is never an option. Go get her book and start reading – I promise you’ll learn something.
(Follow the hashtag #TheBridgeToBrilliance to read more reviews of Nadia Lopez’s story)
You can also check out Ms. Lopez’s TED talk to learn more.