RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh teacher is one of 60 teachers across the country, and one of two in North Carolina, to get national recognition this year for their impact in the classroom.

On Friday, Millbrook Magnet Elementary School students and staff surprised Victoria Lightfoot with a special educator award.

CBS 17 crews were there for the ceremony where local, state, and national education leaders presented Lightfoot with the Milken Educator Award.

Educators call it “the Oscars of Teaching.”

“I was told we had an assembly today to see some awesome third graders and out of the blue I found out I was a recipient as one of the top teachers in the nation,” said Lightfoot. “I’m overwhelmed with joy. It’s a complete shock but it’s a pleasure to serve our students.”

After 12 years of teaching, the third-grade teacher turned instructional coach still couldn’t believe she won the award.

Her colleagues and students celebrated her recognition.

Educators from Wake County, State School Superintendent Cathy Truitt, and other Milken award recipients were there for the surprise ceremony.

They shared stories about how Lightfoot puts her students first and works hard to make sure they succeed inside and outside the school building.

As some teachers across the country leave the classroom, this was a moment educators took to shed some light on why teachers like Lightfoot are needed for the next generation.

“Thank you for being a teacher. Especially with teacher appreciation week in full swing, we have to always remember. While teaching is such an incredible, day-to-day, impactful job – it is very hard work,” said Truitt.

As part of the award, Lightfoot received an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles for a special conference with other Milken educators.

She also received $25,000 to use without any restrictions.