"Ellen" show teacher reflects on national spotlight
Brittany Harris goes the extra mile each day at Barger Academy. On weekends, she takes her classroom on the road, and her hard work put her in the national spotlight.
On Tuesday, millions of "Ellen" viewers met a Chattanooga teaching treasure. Brittany Harris goes the extra mile each day at Barger Academy. On weekends, she takes her classroom on the road, and her hard work put her in the national spotlight.
Fellow teacher Colleen Ryan of Rivermont Elementary School wrote a letter to Ellen a year ago, touting her colleague Brittany Harris as a mentor, and a good role model. She told Ellen about the Passage, a bus the teachers have renovated into a mobile classroom, aimed at students and families in some of the city's less affluent neighborhoods.
Harris had never been to California, so when Ellen invited her for an afternoon of fun and games, she was quickly on board.
"I got a phone call at recess and they said pack your bags," she said. "I said oh my gosh, I'll be there!"
She was rewarded with Crayola school supplies, and $10,000 to help advance her educational initiatives. Wednesday she was welcomed home to Barger by a classroom of enthusiastic second graders, and a very appreciative principal. Greg Bagby said he was thrilled to see her get the recognition she deserves.
She hopes her few minutes of fame will inspire other teachers, and help spread the word locally about the real needs she and Ms. Ryan try to address each day, inside the classroom, and on the streets. It's hard to top the Ellen show, but she's still dreaming big.
"Yes, we hope to serve all areas of Chattanooga," she said. "We want parents empowered to teach their students."
The Passage accepts monetary donations through its website. The mobile classroom is also always in need of books, school supplies and maintenance help.
Call 615-775-8382 to connect with the teachers.