Golden Apple Award: Ryan Barton, East Lake Elementary

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Ryan Barton is a former Adventure Therapist. He traveled to some of the most remote spots on the globe before answering the call to become a teacher. His students at East Lake Elementary School are sure glad he did. Mr. Barton is creative, and he truly cares about their social and emotional learning.

Melissa Coffelt is the Assistant Principal at East Lake.

She says, “He cares not only for the students and the staff, by supporting us with mindfulness time,  something that’s super important, right now as we’re hoping to get post pandemic, and he’s also caring and all about the growth of our students.

When asked to describe himself, Mr. Barton says, “I am a son, brother, educator, lover of the outdoors, conservationist, poet. I was working in adventure therapy in Costa Rica, and I had a lot of people asking me if I could teach them English. I came back to the U.S. a few months later and started a graduate school program and started teaching in Tennessee public education.

Sarah Guthrie is also an ESL teacher at East Lake.

She says, “Mr. Barton is a very, very creative teacher, and he goes above and beyond to meet the socio-emotional needs of his students. He really tries to make sure what they’re doing, how they’re doing as a person, so that they have the best capacity to learn and to do the best they can in the classroom.”

Mr. Barton concludes, ” I did have a a friend that inspired me when trekking in the Everest region of Nepal, and he was telling me about his life. He had been an English teacher for  12 years, and  I was inspired by the way he had been living, what he gained from being an educator. The kids that I work with are incredible here at East Lake. My co-workers are amazing, and so I am surrounded by really beautiful creative and expressive people every day.





Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Golden Apple Award, Hamilton County, Local News