As a child with Tourette syndrome, Brad Cohen was ridiculed, beaten, mocked, and shunned. Other children, teachers, and even sometimes family members found it difficult to be around him.
But nothing has stopped him from taking leadership roles in a variety of settings and being a role model for others.
Cohen will be at Pleviak Elementary School, 304 Grand Ave., Lake Villa, Friday, Oct. 4, to speak with students in kindergarten through third grade. The assembly will begin at 9 a.m.
His mother's encouragement and his brother's support were key elements that kept him going toward his goal to be a teacher. He was rewarded when he was named Georgia's First Class Teacher of the Year.
Even today, Brad is ejected from movie theaters and restaurants, and his story of personal challenge and unwavering determination proves anyone can make their dreams come true. No one can hear Brad's story and fail to see the power of a positive attitude.
Brad, an assistant principal at Addison Elementary School in Cobb County, Ga., has taught second and third grades, was a technology lab teacher, and was responsible for the staff development of teaching the teachers.
He started the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation to help raise money to help those with Tourette syndrome across the nation.
Cohen has a bachelor's degree from Bradley University in Peoria, where he graduated cum laude with honors and received their Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. He has also earned a master's and specialist's degrees from Georgia State University, and graduated from both the Gwinnett County Leadership Academy for aspiring school administrators and Cobb County's Leadership Academy.
He was also featured on Oprah, People Magazine and CNN after the release of his award-winning book, "Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had," in September 2005. His book was named the "Education Book of the Year" for the Independent Book Publishers.