I knew Jim before he knew himself. The first time I saw him he was naked, puckered, and wailing. With an appearance and temperament like that, I figured he’d survive about two miserable years. I was eight and he was my kid brother.

Now he’s written his own book, every last word. Go figure.

It’s a good book, too. He’s a funny guy and that seeps through on every page. But mostly Jim is a teacher, and by extension a storyteller. So on these pages Jim mainly tells stories. He tells about Mr. Ruggles, Mr. B, Mike Klippert, Paula Shea, and a dozen or two more. His heroes, who turn out to be remarkably like Jim himself.

They are all excellent teachers and great leaders, champions to kids and blessings to parents. They are the prototypes of what Jim wants all teachers to see and emulate because, as his title says, Teachers Change Lives 24/7—and that’s too big a responsibility to give to anybody who doesn’t flat-out love kids and want to help open up an exciting new world to them.

In fact, Jim says it best in one of the 175 ways by which teachers might excel in their life-changing quest:


If you don’t love kids, love your job, and love

the field of education, quit. Liking isn’t good

enough when it comes to children’s lives.


 I became involved in Jim’s literary pursuits nearly five years ago when he and two of his cronies, Drs. Max McGee and Jim Rosborg (themselves top leaders in Illinois education) asked me a question about publishing a book they were writing together. I so liked the idea and the wisdom the three imparted, my publishing firm bid on their brainchild, and that became What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know. It rightly became a best seller (with the second, revised edition being released in 2007). The same three are presently finishing another dandy book on educational administration called The Perfect School (also a 2007 release).

All along, Jim has been wooing educational audiences with speeches, keynotes, and strategic planning sessions, and in the process has created his own, unique pool of wisdom, laced with laughter and more than a few tears, all told through stories about the best teachers, how to solve problems immediately, and how to make the school a hallowed hall from which only good things emerge.

So I asked the kid when I could share that information with you too, so many more of you could hear his words and thoughts. This book is the result.

It’s a grand offering and he’s done the odd Burgett family proud again. But you decide…

(If you want to see what others think of the book, check



Gordon Burgett

Publisher, Education Communication Unlimited




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