For the past two years, the Varkey Foundation has worked to raise the stature of the teaching profession, culminating with their annual $1 million prize being awarded to an exceptional teacher that has made the biggest contribution to the educational industry.
Dubbed the “Nobel Prize of teaching”, this award symbolizes the fact that teachers around the world, who are often undervalued for their work in basically molding future leaders, and aims to celebrate them instead. While the winner will not be announced until March 2016, one of Brooklyn’s very own educators has made it to the list of finalists for her undying commitment to helping her students get the best education they can.
In 2010, Nadia Lopez, founded Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the impoverished and underserved Brownsville section of Brooklyn, NY. In the past five years, this principal has helped give hope and direction to many children who may have otherwise not have access to a quality education and strong guidance, inspiring many of them to aim higher.
Lopez is currently one of 50 finalists and while flattered by the nomination, says her school and students are still what she will continue to focus her attention and efforts on. She initially gained attention when Humans of New York made a post about one of her students, which went viral. In the post, the student mentions that Lopez has been the biggest influence in his life and goes on to talk about how when students get in trouble, instead of suspending them, she brings them to her office and talks to them about “how society was built down around them.”
The viral post ended up turning into a fundraising campaign to finance trips for her students to prestigious colleges such as Harvard in the hopes of giving them the motivation they need to work hard in their studies.
Best of luck to Nadia and Mott Hall Bridges Academy!