Then, after 24 interviews, Brad finally met someone who believed in him. Hilarie Straka, an assistant principal and former speech pathologist, convinced a reluctant elementary school principal that Brad was the best person for the job.
"He was everything that we look for in a teacher," Hilarie says. "I said, 'We can't just talk the talk. We need to walk the walk and show these parents and students that we can hire somebody with a disability.'"
Brad was hired to teach second grade. In 1997, he won the state of Georgia's First Year Teacher Award.