The Milken Educator Award is like getting the Oscar for teachers. There are an estimated three million educators in the United States, and only 45 in the nation receive this honor annually. I'm proud to say one of Brick's finest is one of them. 

Her name is Maria DeBruin and she is an advanced placement and honors chemistry teacher at Brick Memorial High School. Today, surrounded by students and peers, she accepted this high honor along with a $25,000 prize.

According to APP, AP Chemistry at Brick Memorial was so disliked that the class was only held once every other year. Since Mrs. DeBruin took over, there are now three AP Chem classes in session.

Acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone said that the school practically has to turn students away because Mrs. DeBruin's classrooms are full. Why? She cares about them and encourages them.

So what sets Mrs. DeBruin's classes apart from the rest beside dealing with a subject that is very difficult to teach? She records her classes and posts them online so her students always have access to the information she is lecturing about.

I think Walter Hrycenko, supervisor of the science department at Brick Memorial put it best. He told APP she has a "special talent for simplifying complex subjects and then helping students understand complexity. She always has hooks to get kids interested in certain topics, which in terms of chemistry is … not everybody's favorite subject."

Congratulations Maria DeBruin. Thank you for your service to our community and children. We're all very proud!

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