Adina Lopatin is Program Director at Deans for Impact. Prior to joining DFI, Adina taught social studies methods and foundations courses at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Tulane University. Adina served as director of resource development for TeachingWorks and deputy chief academic officer for the New York City Department of Education. Adina holds a BA from Yale University and an education leadership doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Adina lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her family.
What compels you about DFI's mission of ensuring that every child has a well-prepared teacher?
All children need different kinds of love and nurturing so their inner light can shine. Well-prepared teachers have honed their insight to see that light and their skills to make it shine. Every child deserves to have a teacher who sees what is special about them, every year.
Describe a teacher or student who made a lasting impact in your life.
My high school history teacher Mr. Meyers helped me discover my purpose. He saw my curiosity about the social inequality evident around us in New York City, and encouraged me to study the history of American poverty and follow the changes to federal social policy that were happening in the news at the time. He taught me how learning history can shape the future, and supported me to teach what I learned to my peers and younger students. Teachers can be so powerful: what he saw in me became what I saw in myself.
What's a principle, philosophy, or quote you live by, and why?
I was raised with the saying that "it's not on you to complete the work, but neither are you free to neglect it" (from the second century Jewish text called Pirkei Avot). I grew up in an observant Jewish family and attended Jewish and Ethical Culture schools. Memories of oppression haunted our curriculum and many of my teachers. They taught me that the world is broken, and part of my purpose is to use what time, resources and skills I've been given to help with fixing it.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love baking. You name the gluten-free flour, I've tried it! So many different features and properties. I've pretty much mastered cookies and muffins; bread and pizza dough are trickier.