NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Not one, but two Rhode Island teachers were surprised with one of the most prestigious awards in the country on Tuesday.

The first Milken Educator Award went to science teacher Malaree Shields of North Kingstown High School.

Shields graduated from Salve Regina University and is heavily involved with the school’s STEM program. She was especially surprised after being told her award ceremony was an assembly for college and career preparation.

“I don’t know if you know what the scariest line is, [but] it’s when someone comes up to you in a room full of people and says, ‘I’m going to make you speak in a minute, collect your thoughts,'” Shields said.

“I’m really excited that North Kingstown High School gets to be represented out here in the public,” she added. “We have some of the greatest students and some of the greatest teachers, so it’s really nice that they get to be in the spotlight a little bit.”

Milken recipients are also awarded $25,000 to use however they choose. Shields said she wants to invest that money into the school’s career and tech program.

Richmond Elementary School’s Paige Leddy also received the award. She’s a reading specialist who serves Kindergarten through fourth-grade students.

Shields and Leddy are two of just 75 teachers receiving the award this year.