"Let me tell you something, I knew the show was going to be a success," she exclusively told E! News' Daily Pop hosts Nina Parker and Loni Love on the April 11 episode. "I had absolutely no idea that it would be this constant flood of warmth and happiness and joy."
Since the show's premiere on ABC in March 2022, dozens of real-life teachers and educators have reached out to Ralph, expressing their love for the series. She's even gotten messages from several organizations, joking, "Who knew there were so many teacher's unions?"
"Someone said to me, 'We're so much into the violence of doctors and lawyers and hospitals and sadness and to see finally a show where we put the spotlight on people who deserve it, teachers, those who mold the hearts and minds of our children,'" she said, "they are very happy and very appreciative and I love it."
"They also want to comment on my hair! Lord have mercy," Ralph added, as she and her character—teacher Barbara Howard—couldn't be more different, especially when it comes to their personal styles, something which she took up with the show's creator and star, Quinta Brunson.
"I said to Quinta, 'Baby, can't you just give me a little zhush?'" she joked. "I was like gee whiz. Look at Ava [Janelle James]! Ava was wearing all of my clothes. Ava's got all of my hair on. And I've got one sweater set after the other."
Style differences aside, Ralph couldn't be prouder to see the show shine a spotlight on the importance of Black female creatives and artists in Hollywood.
"It's a lot of busting rocks and busting dirt and pushing through doors that were closed, telling you you're 'too dark' or 'too this,' [they] don't know what to do with you," she shared. "And then, to come to a moment that is perfectly created by this young Black woman with vision, I can only look at her and say, 'Thank you god for this moment' because, I know everything I went through and those who came up with me and before me. I know they're like, 'See, there you go. It was all worth it."
Hear more from Sheryl Lee Ralph in the above Daily Pop clip.
Abbott Elementary airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.