2010 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Linda M. Lopez, Ph.D.

Linda M. Lopez, Ph.D.

Nassau BOCES

As she celebrates her 20th year with the agency, Linda M. Lopez, Ph.D., admits that there's no place she'd rather work than at Nassau BOCES.

At the Alternative Learning Program (ALP), a high school for those who are academically capable but have difficulty with social relationships, Lopez reaches far beyond her role as school psychologist. Her impact can be felt throughout the ALP community — from its environment that supports and celebrates diversity to its comprehensive programs for students with autism spectrum disorders.

A strong believer in the team approach, she is known for building close ties with teachers, administrators, parents and community members to help students become academically and socially successful. Most recently, for example, she has been working with colleagues to introduce new learning technology resources to increase access and independence of a broad range of students while in high school and beyond. Lopez is proud of her school's record — most ALP students graduate with diplomas and more than half go on to attend two- or four-year colleges.

In addition, learners throughout the agency benefit from the partnerships she pursues with other Nassau BOCES programs, school districts and educational institutions — such as Nassau Community College (NCC), the University at Buffalo and the New York State Education Department.

Lopez plays a pivotal role in a new initiative providing teenagers from several Nassau BOCES Special Education high schools with early glimpses into college life. Offered in collaboration with NCC, "The College Experience" eases teenagers' worries about the next steps after graduation while teaching them how to make social connections and balance academics with other responsibilities.

Lopez holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hunter College, and a master's in school psychology and doctorate in clinical/school psychology from Adelphi University. She lives in North Bellmore, N.Y., with her husband, Bruce Hillowe, and her children, Peter and Katie.