Florida elementary teacher surprised live on ‘Good Morning America’
When Turie T. Elementary teacher Yoder Milton burst into tears Monday morning, the crowd surrounding her clapped and cheered her on.
After all, they were happy tears: it’s not every day teachers get to be honored on national television for their work in the community.
The buzz of laughing children holding signs saying “Dr. Milton we really love you,” “Congrats, Doc!” and “Hooray Dr. Milton!” fell into a hush as their classroom door was opened. ABC News Correspondent Will Reeves filed in, camera crew in tow, as Milton gasped in surprise.
Then came the happy tears.
After finding out about Milton’s story through The Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Amazing Teacher series, national television show ABC’s “Good Morning America” decided to surprise her by featuring her on a segment titled “Make your Monday,” where one teacher across the country is chosen for the impact they have on their community.
“I’m ecstatic, overwhelmed, shocked,” Milton said. “This is all so amazing.”
Milton isn’t a classroom teacher, she teaches other teachers.
As an academic coach, it’s her job to inspire other teachers to help them build confidence, add versatility and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Whether it be trying to find solutions to helping low-performing students, or checking in on how the teachers themselves are feeling, Milton is there to help.
In her free time, Milton tutors at the a library and in school, is a youth coordinator at her church and coaches a girls’ club, called “Girls with Class.” It’s focused on teaching young girls at Turie T. Elementary social skills, confidence and respect.
Eight-year-old Trinity Williams said being a part of Milton’s club means she can go on all the great field trips.
“We love Dr. Milton, she’s a great girl’s club teacher,” she said.
Her friend Navaeh Davis agreed.
“I love Dr. Milton because she takes us a lot of places,” Navaeh said, waving around a sign with smiley faces, hearts and Milton’s name on it. “She’s an amazing teacher.”
Students weren’t the only ones who were all smiles Monday morning, either: From county officials and teachers to producers and cameramen of the ABC news show, excitement was infectious.
Amy Hayden, producer for the “Make your Monday” segment, said it was “awesome” to see everyone so happy and proud of Milton.
“It’s always nice to honor someone who’s making a difference in her school and her community,” she said. “It’s great to give them the day to celebrate themselves.”
And the celebration didn’t stop after the live television segment. Milton was surprised with a day off work, a limousine waiting for her outside, a “swag bag” full of workout clothing, and Disney on Ice tickets for her and her entire Girls with Class club.
Needless to say, the club was overjoyed.
Shouts of “We’re going to Disney!,” along with excited laughter and chatter were present for long after Milton was escorted to her limo.
Milton, despite all the excitement and celebration, said she was just doing her job. She said it’s a teacher’s duty to build up the next generation of young adults with confidence and support.
“I love to empower, I love to inspire,” she said. “I think especially in this world today, we need to have powerful role models for our children, to encourage them to be the best they can be.”
This story originally published to news-journalonline.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.
About the Amazing Teacher series
As part of an effort to honor the work of teachers in Volusia and Flagler counties, The News-Journal and All Aboard Storage are sharing stories of educators who have made an impact on students’ lives with a different story each month. Click here to nominate amazing teachers for the series.