Alumni Highlight: Lindsay Lopez-Wisely BA '04, MA '09

Lindsay Lopez-Wisely BA ‘04, MA ‘09 is an East Bay Area native from Antioch, Calif. Remarkably, in addition to earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Kinesiology at Saint Mary’s, she also obtained her administrative credential in 2013 from the College and is currently completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) with an expected graduation date in 2023. Go Gaels! 

Lindsay always knew she wanted to become a physical education teacher and a basketball coach, and secured her first position as a PE teacher at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School (DVHS) in 2004. Her list of achievements and the impact she had on the institution’s athletics program is inspirational. Some of these accomplishments include obtaining over $100,000 in grant money for the physical education program; coaching the Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team to a 116-32 record, four league titles, and five playoff appearances; and fundraising more than $30,000 over five years’ time for team expenses.

Although finding early success at DVHS, Lindsay decided to further her education and enroll in the Graduate Kinesiology program so that she could polish her abilities in all facets of coaching and earn the credential she needed in order to coach at the intercollegiate level. She was already very familiar with SMC’s community, the Kinesiology Department, and its members. Dr. Steve Miller’s Psychological Analysis of Sport & Exercise course is one she particularly highlights as it emphasized critically evaluating and interpreting scholarly methods, research, and theory. Overtime, one of Lindsay’s strengths has become finding and using research-based best practices as well as using research to help justify the decisions she makes. She also expresses, “I want to acknowledge Dr. Shari Otto, an incredibly influential teacher from whom I took classes in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. She taught us the best practices for teaching and coaching sports, more precisely the instructional side of how to break down learning a skill as well as an in-depth analysis of teaching a skill which I still use in my coaching methods today.”

Shortly after graduation, Lindsay was appointed the Head Women’s Basketball Coach for Las Positas College, a community college in Livermore, Calif. Although she enjoyed coaching, she was also very attracted to school leadership, which is why she got her administrative credential from SMC in 2013. In 2016, after being a health teacher and the vice principal for Antioch’s Unified School District, she accepted a position as the principal of Antioch Middle School. One of her first acts as principal was creating and developing a middle school athletics program. She quickly managed to raise more than $50,000 through donations and introduced co-ed flag football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and track and field to the school. Lindsay uses her experience and philosophy as a coach in order to provide a vision and a sense of community in her current position. Another notable accomplishment is reversing the school’s high teacher turnover rate thanks to her previously mentioned attributes. Additionally, she created and now co-leads a girls’ empowerment project, where students watch documentaries about women working in male-dominated industries, such as engineering and tech, and discuss how these women found success despite the odds being against them. From the start of her involvement with the project in 2013, more than 900 girls have been inspired by the content! 

Lindsay is completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) in order to pursue her ambition to become the superintendent of a school district. As a school site principal, she can lead and impact her school site, but as a superintendent, she would have the ability to broaden  the scope of her impact. She would love to cast a net over many more kids in terms of their academic programs and enrichment activities. She states, “I believe athletics is important, music is important, kids need joy at school. Sometimes there is a broad disconnection between the athletic and the academic world!” As a leader she wants to emphasize the importance of athletics and academics coexisting to offer as many opportunities as possible to the students she oversees. As a seasoned administrator, she now has over seventeen years of educational experience with a strong track record of leadership, a jaw-dropping list of accomplishments, and an extensive and passionate engagement for women and girls in sports.