DIGHTON, Mass. (WPRI) — The latest recipient of the Milken Educator Award for Massachusetts was honored Wednesday at a surprise assembly.

Leigh Beson is a Title I Reading Interventionist at Dighton Elementary School.

She was honored for her ability to identify the unique needs and abilities of every student and create a nurturing environment for them to flourish.

As part of the award, Beson received $25,000. She is the first teacher from Dighton to receive the honor.

Beson was nearly speechless when she found out she was the recipient.

“I don’t have the words right now,” she said. “I’m very appreciative, I’m very honored. I can’t wait to keep working with you all.”

“Ms. Beson’s skills of creating joy, learning, and growth for all students have never been so important,” Mass. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey C. Riley said. “I’m glad to see her recognized today, and I hope this award will help inspire others to become educators.”