The Bridge to Brilliance: How One Principal in a Tough Community Is Inspiring the World

Nadia Lopez, with Rebecca Paley. Viking, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-101-98025-5
Lopez details her struggles and triumphs as the principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, the middle school she founded in the poverty-ridden Brownsville section of Brooklyn. In her role of principal, Lopez faces challenging students, exhausted parents, overwhelmed teachers, and low test scores, and the stress of her job takes a toll on her physical and mental health. But when one of her students is interviewed on the popular blog Humans of New York and describes Lopez as the person who has most influenced him, Lopez is flooded with opportunities: she arranges for her students to take trips to Harvard, meets President Obama, and raises over a million dollars for her school. Despite these accomplishments, Lopez makes it clear that the lives of low-income students are still marked by violence. She uses the tragic story of a former student, Newshawn Plummer, who was shot and killed in 2015, as a reminder of these ongoing challenges. Lopez offers many strategies for improving education (mentorship programs, greater parental involvement, strong guidance counseling, and field trips that provide exposure to different cultures and ideas), each of which merits its own book. Lopez’s clear-eyed approach to education is the book’s most valuable lesson: educators should listen to the students, parents, and teachers who live and work in these communities; they understand their needs best. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 08/30/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-101-98026-2
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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