In elementary school, Dannel Malloy was unable to read, spell, do math problems, or even tie his shoes and button his clothes. He found little encouragement at school. His teachers hung his failed spelling tests next to those that received A’s, and one teacher even labeled him as "mentally retarded". His mother, however, refused to believe that this was true. She encouraged her son by focusing on his strengths and developing his communication skills. She also introduced him to news and talk shows on the radio. By the end of middle school, Malloy had greatly improved in reading, spelling, and fine motor skills.

Eventually, Malloy was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. With the lessons his mother had taught him, he decided not to let his disability stop him from being successful. In high school, Malloy discovered books on tape which helped him receive better marks in school. Desiring a college education, Malloy wrote to several schools, telling them of his disability and asking them to take a chance on him. He ended up at Boston College where his reading skills greatly improved. The school granted him extra time on multiple choice tests and allowed him to dictate his essay questions orally.

After performing exceptionally well while getting his undergraduate degree, Malloy also pursued a law degree at Boston College and served as a prosecutor before becoming Stamford, Connecticut’s longest tenured mayor. Setting his sights even higher, Malloy ran for governor of Connecticut in 2010 and narrowly beat out his opponent.

Malloy is extremely grateful for the support of his mother and the schools that were willing to take a chance on him despite his disability. Read more about how Malloy overcame his dyslexia on the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity's website and on the New York Times website.