Jim Harris began his career as an educator in the Wisconsin Indian Teacher Corps where he taught children of the Ho Chunk Tribe living near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. In addition to teaching, he produced the radio program “Winnebago Voices,” the first radio series in Wisconsin to present discussion of news and culture in a native language.
For 10 years Jim was a classroom teacher. Among his accomplishments were the acquisition of numerous teaching awards and the distinction of becoming one of the first male kindergarten teachers in Wisconsin.
Students all across the nation have received their initial social studies and science education from texts that Jim authored. He was the primary-level author of Holt Social Studies published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. He also authored the texts and teachers’ guides for three levels of Science Horizons published by Silver, Burdett and Ginn.
For more than 20 years Jim served as a school administrator and was a frequent presenter at conferences and staff development workshops. When his public advocacy for the health of his students resulted in a local paper mill installing several millions of dollars worth of new pollution controls, he was recognized by the Washington Post and several environmental groups for his leadership. Later in his career, he was selected by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as the state’s “Elementary Principal of the Year.”
The Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations recently honored Jim and Marty Harris for their work on behalf of Hmong families. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has recognized them as “Outstanding Global Educators.”
Since 2006, Jim has worked in cooperation with Phoenix Clearance Ltd., a New Zealand company doing clearance of bombs, land mines and other unexploded ordnance in Laos. He works with a rapid-response team that removes or destroys ordnance discovered by villagers in Nakai District, Khammuan Province.