Antioch Middle School principal Lopez-Wisely named administrators association’s Principal of the Year

Antioch Middle School principal Lindsay Lopez-Wisely (with lanyard) with some of her students. Photo by AUSD.

By Antioch Unified School District

Just as she’d spent years as an athlete keeping an eye on the ball, Lindsay Lopez-Wisely knew what she wanted to do right out of college. Four years ago, that sense of direction led her to Antioch Middle School, where she has won an award from the Association of California School Administrators for excelling among secondary principals.

A product of Antioch Unified, the Deer Valley High graduate competed in basketball, tennis and track — so well that newspaper clippings of her athletic prowess decorate her office walls.
Lopez-Wisely received a full-ride basketball scholarship to St. Mary’s College, earning a degree in physical education with an emphasis on teaching.

She landed her first job at DVHS in 2004, followed by a teaching stint and then a role as vice principal at Antioch High, where she also won accolades from the ACSA.

Additionally, she developed relationships with community leaders and groups, connections that proved useful when Lopez-Wisely assumed the helm at AMS, receiving generous donations and hosting fundraisers to help with extracurricular activities.

Right out of the gate, Lopez-Wisely instituted instrumental music and choir and helped fill the library with a bundle of new books. Since then, she’s also added on-going school dances and family events, a specialty dance class, a Manhood Development curriculum, and a wellness room to give struggling students a place to get re-centered.

One of her biggest goals was to revive middle school athletics – a full program for all AUSD middle schools, including AMS, Black Diamond, Dallas Ranch, Park and Orchard. The middle-schoolers get a chance to learn a variety of games – from football to basketball to soccer – and the benefits of being on a team and a team player.

Lopez-Wisely thinks one of the reasons she received the award was for her efforts to make AMS a “restorative campus,” a place where students and parents feel welcome and cultivating good relationships is a priority. Teachers are trained how to conduct classroom activities to help young people get to know each other better, which in turn makes them more willing to participate in class discussions and improves teamwork.

In addition, a full-time restorative teacher mediates conflicts between students and leads meetings with students, parents and teachers.

Lopez-Wisely has now moved on to the ACSA state award level, along with Superintendent Stephanie Anello.

Outside the job, Lopez-Wisely somehow finds the energy for 5:30 a.m. workouts with her husband several times a week. The couple also coach their 8- and 12-year-old children; she takes the lead in basketball and he mentors their son in softball and football. #WeAreAUSD

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