A JOURNEY TO AND
BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD

By KIM JOHNSON

REVIEWS

A Journey to and Beyond the Blackboard

5 Stars
Eye opening account of a Headteacher 

Well that’s confirmed it in my mind …. The pathway to headship and the challenge of then performing the role can be a trial and a joy. Well done to the author for his honesty and revelations. A great read!

Greg Holden

Aspiring Headteacher

5 Stars
So much to learn from this book

Recommended by a teacher colleague …. And thoroughly enjoyed. My word … so much packed into 39yrs in education and a wealth of tips and real insights into Special Education. Had always thought the role and life of a school leader was a tough one and can now say having read this book it certainly is challenging. Just have to read it again to capture all the detail as there’s so much to take in and learn from.

Steven Jones

Teacher

4 Stars
A pleasing read into what makes teachers tick

As a parent it’s always interesting to see what makes teachers tick in the performance of their role. This book gives such an insight and makes for a pleasing read.

A. Galtres

Parent

5 Stars

The passionate determination to succeed is revealed

Met him once at a Conference and found him to be a credible and confident exponent of equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged and damaged souls in Special Schools especially those with emotional, behavioural and mental health challenges. His book reveals a passionate determination to make a difference and encourage all in his charge to enjoy learning and aim high. Saddened to note it once broke him… impressed he came back from that and made such an impact with what seems joy in his heart. Excellent read!

Phil G.

Former Headteacher

5 Stars

A must read for those looking to headship in the future

As I continue with my own aspirations of promotion to the leadership team I thought this book would be an interesting read. I was not disappointed at all. Far from it as I now know that the implicit dedication to the role and personal sacrifices likely to be made are going to be significant. Reading the author’s journey it’s clear that a never give up attitude is required and having a good team around you is key to success. Well done to Kim Johnson for his own hard work and for writing his book. It is a must read for those such as me looking to secure a headship in the future.

F.S.

Primary Teacher

5 Stars

Inspirational Story and Insight into Education

Saw this book on the Novum stand at Frankfurt Book Fair. Finally got to buy and read it. What a journey to be enthralled by and enjoy as Kim Johnson progressed from student to teacher then Principal. Some lovely pen portraits of certain pupils. A realistic insight into the daily life of teaching in the English Special Education system. Would like to meet the author one day and shake his hand. Inspirational educators are worth their weight in gold.

Florence Rupp

5 Stars

Admirable Life in Teaching

I so enjoyed reading this book. What an admirable career by the author in teaching some of the most challenging individuals. The journey helps you unpick his drive and motivation as well as his resilience in the face of adversity from the most unlikely quarters. Have passed my copy to our Headteacher.

Mrs L.W.

Parent & School Governor

5 Stars

Has this made me change my career?

An intriguing read and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The ‘journey’ the author has made from pupil to Academy Principal is an interesting one indeed. Caused me to reflect on my own pathway and to where I am today in a soulless job in the city where a sense of making a difference to the lives of others is pretty non-existent. Have always wondered about teaching and now bitten by the thought of working in Special Education. A pivotal movement for me – thanks Kim Johnson!

Simon Shaw

5 Stars

Great read of a man I admire

Worked with him for ten years and enjoyed his style of leadership. He set alight the children and dared them to dream that anything was possible. He made staff realise they could be stars in his school and when they shone brightly he referred to them as ‘his magicians’. His smile was ever present and his determination to bring happiness and pride into our school made it a wonderful place for me to enjoy working. He was more than my boss …. he was my mentor …. and dear friend too. Such a great read and now my memory keepsake of a man I admire.

Anonymous

Teacher

5 Stars

A model for me as a new Headteacher

Well it’s fair to say that I was captivated by Kim Johnson’s ‘journey’ and astounded by the twists and turns as he challenged all around him to raise their game in the numerous education settings. Thank goodness he prevailed and went on to be so successful. Now I can model my next steps as a new head on what and how he did it.

G.H.

Newly Appointed Headteacher

5 Stars

An excellent read and an admirable career

Interesting to read the highs and lows of a teacher/headteacher in England and his journey from student to those positions. It is hard not to think how crazy it is that so much effort had to go into creating an ‘outstanding’ education in schools with national & local government and the attitude of some teachers (and their unions) at times so adversarial. Despite this the author’s resilience and what you English would call ‘dogged determination’ kept him going to achieve such inspirational things. An excellent read and an admirable career. Gut gemacht, Herr Johnson.

Uwe Kamz

Teacher in Germany

5 Stars

Let’s look after School Leaders such as Mr Kim Johnson 

I really enjoyed reading Kim’s book and feel inspired by his resolute and professional endeavour in a tough educational sector. The concern that it had such an impact on him at one stage in his ‘journey’ shows how there is a need for greater care and supervision for such school leaders for we cannot let them go under if children are to prosper in quality educational settings such as he succeeding in running to brilliant effect.

 

Dr D. B.

(Ed Psych)

5 Stars

Fascinating and Inspirational!

As a parent of a child with SEND I found this book to be a wonderful insight into what makes a special school leader tick. Kim Johnson clearly gave a huge part of his life to ensuring there truly was (as he puts it) ‘no ceiling to their learning’. Undoubtedly he touched the lives of so many children and young adults with care, compassion, fun , laughter and determination to be proud of who they were and could go on to be. His understanding and relationship with SEND is a breath of fresh air to the likes of me and my child. Kim Johnson’s story is fascinating and inspirational and I’ve read it twice now !

Parent of a 13yr old with complex SEND

5 Stars

A ‘Great Read’ to help remember the joy of the job

I love my job albeit that some days it’s tough as a SENCO in a school. To read this book is to be encouraged to remember why I do it and how enjoyable & fulfilling it really is. A great story and a great read.

S Thorpe

SENCO

5 Stars

Thanks Mr J!


The author was my Headteacher when I was in an EBD School due to my troubled teenage years. Always firm but fair …. direct but caring ….. his ability to encourage change and make me believe I could sustain it eventually worked. I look back now and realise how much I owe him. My past is a chapter of my own life which I don’t  share and thanks to him I have successfully moved on from. Your book is a great read sir and sits on my bookshelf as a fond reminder of you. Thanks Mr J!

Stephen

Ex Pupil of the late 1990

5 Stars

Can’t be true …. Can it ? Wonderful Book!


Well I enjoyed this book and remain amazed after the ups and downs, the trials with certain staff and parents, the battles with some Ofsted inspectors & LEA staff and politicians that the author remained so positive about his 39 years in education. A true professional and inspiring character with a single minded focus on providing the very best for the most challenging and disenfranchised children in our education system. A captivating read worthy of a bigger audience than just those in teaching.

John Trueman

5 Stars

Did more than made me think … made me change my career pathway ! Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


The Head of 6th Form told me of this book and said my mum (a SENCO in a secondary school) would like it as a birthday present. So I bought it, then just had to read it myself. Well the result was my mum got it as a second hand book, I enjoyed the read myself and have now applied for teacher training after all the things I’d previously said ! Quite a story, quite a journey and undoubtedly quite a character. I look forward to working with the likes of Kim Johnson as a school leader once qualified and hope to enjoy similar highs in the profession. My mum is reading the book now and her smile is as much about what it has done for me as it is in celebrating the joy of reading about working in SEND.

 

Thomas F.

(Still a 6th Former)

5 Stars

Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


As a relatively new teacher this book caught my eye and I thought it a worthy read. Oh how I was so pleased to have done so as it captured my attention and I enjoyed it throughout. So interesting to see the author’s journey from being a pupil at Primary School all the way to four headships in quite different, difficult and testing schools. I’d recommend this to anyone in teaching or entertaining the thought of embarking on such a career. It most certainly won’t put you off ….. quite the opposite it will encourage you to be adventurous and positive in your own journey. That’s how it has impacted on me and I’m grateful to Kim. 

 

Romy C.

Teacher & Acting SENCO

5 Stars

An Authentic Account of a Dedicated School Leader


Kim Johnson’s book is a really great read and so very authentic. It really comes alive with such a rich blend of the personal and the professional impactful events and large shifts in his life.His humanity and dedication shines through on every page. Such lovely memories conveyed by him and illustrating how his journey shaped him to become a great leader with many schools where his fantastic work transformed numerous lives. 

 

John Rolfe MBE

British Council, London

5 Stars

An absorbing mixture of the personal and the professional 


This is a book which will definitely interest those within the education field but will equally entertain a general audience. Childhood memories and personal stories combine with insights into the world of education. I especially enjoyed the many accounts of interactions with a variety of students. It is clear that, to Kim, his involvement in teaching and education was more than a career, it was a lifelong vocation. He has made his mark across a range of educational settings and has improved the life chances of many students along the way. It’s a good read!

Nora Byrne

Lead PSHCE Teacher - Special Academy

5 Stars

A fascinating insight into the admirable drive of a successful school leader. 


I found this book totally fascinating and admire the drive and dedication Kim Johnson showed in order to make things happen in his numerous schools. Progress in an educational organisation is dependent on having a clear message that all members can identify with so they can support their Headteacher and also feel supported themselves. It is absolutely clear that Kim achieved that.Kim’s specific examples (what a memory!) give real strength to his story and showed how hands on he was and how he was very dedicated to his staff team and students. Both so vital and key to his lengthy success as a school leader.

Gilbert McGinn

Retired Secondary Senior Teacher & Independent School Inspector

5 Stars
Interesting read

Coming from a different industry I found it encouraging to read that the public sector has similar challenges to the private one, requiring brave leadership to avoid giving recognition to mediocrity and driving excellent people to continuously improve.

Mike B.

Retired COO

5 Stars
Great Memory!

Fascinating story of the author’s life ….. great memory recall!

John T.

Retired Engineer

5 Stars
An amazing book by a forward-thinking and caring school leader. 

Just after the author arrived to be Headteacher at my school setting I bumped into an old friend who happened to be teaching in the school he was leaving. He said, “Kim Johnson Mmmm. So sad he is leaving us but he will take your school to places you never thought you could go!” In due course these words soon became the reality for me, others on our staff team and our students.The book is full of amazing recollections from his successful career as a forward thinking school leader who genuinely cared for all in his care. He certainly changed my thought processes which impacted on my career progression and in turn my outlook on life, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Di Jenkins

Former AHT in SEND Specialist Provision

5 Stars
Insightful Book on the success needed to face the challenges of Headship

This excellent book provides a real insight into the realities of headship and of the determination needed to make a success of what is a demanding and challenging role. So interesting to see how the author doesn’t give up in the face of the absence of effective leadership from national and local government. I look forward to talking to him about it sometime in the future.
Peter Johnson

Educational Consultant & Leadership Mentor

5 Stars
Honest and life affirming


I’ve known Kim for about a decade and he’s been a great colleague and friend in that time. Reading his book has opened up so much more of this remarkable man. It details in open honesty the trials and tribulations of being a Head and the joys that keep us in the job for decades (in some cases!). Unlike other books on leadership, this is one where the story and people/characters come first and the ‘lessons’ are side dishes, as it should be. The only slight critique I might supply is that I wanted to know the names of schools, people and places – but Kim, kind as ever, has kept those out where others might have ‘named’ and occasionally (because of the actions) ‘shamed’. A wonderful account of a humble life of great public service.
Robert Campbell

Retired CEO of Cambridgeshire Multi Academy Trust

5 Stars
Informative and enjoyable read

A well written account of one man’s life experiences and of the battles fought to enhance the lives of those in his care. Written as an autobiography it forces one to reflect upon one’s own working practices as well as being a beacon of inspiration for those just starting out on the journey that is education. Full of humour, pathos and imagination, it is a book that will appeal to not just the education practitioner, but to anyone seeking a genuinely informative and enjoyable read.

David Shanks

Retired Senior Teacher of London SEMH Special School

5 Stars
A fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education.

This book charts the fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education, both at a local and national level. Full of wit and wisdom, it is a timely, and much-needed reminder, of what draws us into teaching. A timeless story of someone who wanted (and succeeded!) in making a difference. An inspiring read.

James Hilton

Nationally acclaimed author and speaker on School Leadership Well-Being.

5 Stars

Great read of a man I admire

Worked with him for ten years and enjoyed his style of leadership. He set alight the children and dared them to dream that anything was possible. He made staff realise they could be stars in his school and when they shone brightly he referred to them as ‘his magicians’. His smile was ever present and his determination to bring happiness and pride into our school made it a wonderful place for me to enjoy working. He was more than my boss …. he was my mentor …. and dear friend too. Such a great read and now my memory keepsake of a man I admire.

Anonymous

Teacher

5 Stars

A model for me as a new Headteacher

Well it’s fair to say that I was captivated by Kim Johnson’s ‘journey’ and astounded by the twists and turns as he challenged all around him to raise their game in the numerous education settings. Thank goodness he prevailed and went on to be so successful. Now I can model my next steps as a new head on what and how he did it.

G.H.

Newly Appointed Headteacher

5 Stars

An excellent read and an admirable career

Interesting to read the highs and lows of a teacher/headteacher in England and his journey from student to those positions. It is hard not to think how crazy it is that so much effort had to go into creating an ‘outstanding’ education in schools with national & local government and the attitude of some teachers (and their unions) at times so adversarial. Despite this the author’s resilience and what you English would call ‘dogged determination’ kept him going to achieve such inspirational things. An excellent read and an admirable career. Gut gemacht, Herr Johnson.

Uwe Kamz

Teacher in Germany

5 Stars

Let’s look after School Leaders such as Mr Kim Johnson 

I really enjoyed reading Kim’s book and feel inspired by his resolute and professional endeavour in a tough educational sector. The concern that it had such an impact on him at one stage in his ‘journey’ shows how there is a need for greater care and supervision for such school leaders for we cannot let them go under if children are to prosper in quality educational settings such as he succeeding in running to brilliant effect.

Dr D. B.

(Ed Psych)

5 Stars

Fascinating and Inspirational!

As a parent of a child with SEND I found this book to be a wonderful insight into what makes a special school leader tick. Kim Johnson clearly gave a huge part of his life to ensuring there truly was (as he puts it) ‘no ceiling to their learning’. Undoubtedly he touched the lives of so many children and young adults with care, compassion, fun , laughter and determination to be proud of who they were and could go on to be. His understanding and relationship with SEND is a breath of fresh air to the likes of me and my child. Kim Johnson’s story is fascinating and inspirational and I’ve read it twice now !

Parent of a 13yr old with complex SEND

5 Stars

A ‘Great Read’ to help remember the joy of the job

I love my job albeit that some days it’s tough as a SENCO in a school. To read this book is to be encouraged to remember why I do it and how enjoyable & fulfilling it really is. A great story and a great read.

S Thorpe

SENCO

5 Stars

Thanks Mr J!


The author was my Headteacher when I was in an EBD School due to my troubled teenage years. Always firm but fair …. direct but caring ….. his ability to encourage change and make me believe I could sustain it eventually worked. I look back now and realise how much I owe him. My past is a chapter of my own life which I don’t  share and thanks to him I have successfully moved on from. Your book is a great read sir and sits on my bookshelf as a fond reminder of you. Thanks Mr J!

Stephen

Ex Pupil of the late 1990

5 Stars

Can’t be true …. Can it ? Wonderful Book!


Well I enjoyed this book and remain amazed after the ups and downs, the trials with certain staff and parents, the battles with some Ofsted inspectors & LEA staff and politicians that the author remained so positive about his 39 years in education. A true professional and inspiring character with a single minded focus on providing the very best for the most challenging and disenfranchised children in our education system. A captivating read worthy of a bigger audience than just those in teaching.

John Trueman

5 Stars

Did more than made me think … made me change my career pathway ! Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


The Head of 6th Form told me of this book and said my mum (a SENCO in a secondary school) would like it as a birthday present. So I bought it, then just had to read it myself. Well the result was my mum got it as a second hand book, I enjoyed the read myself and have now applied for teacher training after all the things I’d previously said ! Quite a story, quite a journey and undoubtedly quite a character. I look forward to working with the likes of Kim Johnson as a school leader once qualified and hope to enjoy similar highs in the profession. My mum is reading the book now and her smile is as much about what it has done for me as it is in celebrating the joy of reading about working in SEND.

 

Thomas F.

(Still a 6th Former)

5 Stars

Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


As a relatively new teacher this book caught my eye and I thought it a worthy read. Oh how I was so pleased to have done so as it captured my attention and I enjoyed it throughout. So interesting to see the author’s journey from being a pupil at Primary School all the way to four headships in quite different, difficult and testing schools. I’d recommend this to anyone in teaching or entertaining the thought of embarking on such a career. It most certainly won’t put you off ….. quite the opposite it will encourage you to be adventurous and positive in your own journey. That’s how it has impacted on me and I’m grateful to Kim. 

Romy C.

Teacher & Acting SENCO

5 Stars

An Authentic Account of a Dedicated School Leader


Kim Johnson’s book is a really great read and so very authentic. It really comes alive with such a rich blend of the personal and the professional impactful events and large shifts in his life.His humanity and dedication shines through on every page. Such lovely memories conveyed by him and illustrating how his journey shaped him to become a great leader with many schools where his fantastic work transformed numerous lives. 

John Rolfe MBE

British Council, London

5 Stars

An absorbing mixture of the personal and the professional 


This is a book which will definitely interest those within the education field but will equally entertain a general audience. Childhood memories and personal stories combine with insights into the world of education. I especially enjoyed the many accounts of interactions with a variety of students. It is clear that, to Kim, his involvement in teaching and education was more than a career, it was a lifelong vocation. He has made his mark across a range of educational settings and has improved the life chances of many students along the way. It’s a good read!

Nora Byrne

Lead PSHCE Teacher - Special Academy

5 Stars

A fascinating insight into the admirable drive of a successful school leader. 


I found this book totally fascinating and admire the drive and dedication Kim Johnson showed in order to make things happen in his numerous schools. Progress in an educational organisation is dependent on having a clear message that all members can identify with so they can support their Headteacher and also feel supported themselves. It is absolutely clear that Kim achieved that.Kim’s specific examples (what a memory!) give real strength to his story and showed how hands on he was and how he was very dedicated to his staff team and students. Both so vital and key to his lengthy success as a school leader.

Gilbert McGinn

Retired Secondary Senior Teacher & Independent School Inspector

5 Stars
Interesting read

Coming from a different industry I found it encouraging to read that the public sector has similar challenges to the private one, requiring brave leadership to avoid giving recognition to mediocrity and driving excellent people to continuously improve.

Mike B.

Retired COO

5 Stars
Great Memory!

Fascinating story of the author’s life ….. great memory recall!

John T.

Retired Engineer

5 Stars
An amazing book by a forward-thinking and caring school leader. 

Just after the author arrived to be Headteacher at my school setting I bumped into an old friend who happened to be teaching in the school he was leaving. He said, “Kim Johnson Mmmm. So sad he is leaving us but he will take your school to places you never thought you could go!” In due course these words soon became the reality for me, others on our staff team and our students.The book is full of amazing recollections from his successful career as a forward thinking school leader who genuinely cared for all in his care. He certainly changed my thought processes which impacted on my career progression and in turn my outlook on life, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Di Jenkins

Former AHT in SEND Specialist Provision

5 Stars
Insightful Book on the success needed to face the challenges of Headship

This excellent book provides a real insight into the realities of headship and of the determination needed to make a success of what is a demanding and challenging role. So interesting to see how the author doesn’t give up in the face of the absence of effective leadership from national and local government. I look forward to talking to him about it sometime in the future.
Peter Johnson

Educational Consultant & Leadership Mentor

5 Stars
Honest and life affirming


I’ve known Kim for about a decade and he’s been a great colleague and friend in that time. Reading his book has opened up so much more of this remarkable man. It details in open honesty the trials and tribulations of being a Head and the joys that keep us in the job for decades (in some cases!). Unlike other books on leadership, this is one where the story and people/characters come first and the ‘lessons’ are side dishes, as it should be. The only slight critique I might supply is that I wanted to know the names of schools, people and places – but Kim, kind as ever, has kept those out where others might have ‘named’ and occasionally (because of the actions) ‘shamed’. A wonderful account of a humble life of great public service.
Robert Campbell

Retired CEO of Cambridgeshire Multi Academy Trust

5 Stars
Informative and enjoyable read

A well written account of one man’s life experiences and of the battles fought to enhance the lives of those in his care. Written as an autobiography it forces one to reflect upon one’s own working practices as well as being a beacon of inspiration for those just starting out on the journey that is education. Full of humour, pathos and imagination, it is a book that will appeal to not just the education practitioner, but to anyone seeking a genuinely informative and enjoyable read.

David Shanks

Retired Senior Teacher of London SEMH Special School

5 Stars
A fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education.

This book charts the fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education, both at a local and national level. Full of wit and wisdom, it is a timely, and much-needed reminder, of what draws us into teaching. A timeless story of someone who wanted (and succeeded!) in making a difference. An inspiring read.

James Hilton

Nationally acclaimed author and speaker on School Leadership Well-Being.

5 Stars

Great read of a man I admire

Worked with him for ten years and enjoyed his style of leadership. He set alight the children and dared them to dream that anything was possible. He made staff realise they could be stars in his school and when they shone brightly he referred to them as ‘his magicians’. His smile was ever present and his determination to bring happiness and pride into our school made it a wonderful place for me to enjoy working. He was more than my boss …. he was my mentor …. and dear friend too. Such a great read and now my memory keepsake of a man I admire.

Anonymous

Teacher

5 Stars

A model for me as a new Headteacher

Well it’s fair to say that I was captivated by Kim Johnson’s ‘journey’ and astounded by the twists and turns as he challenged all around him to raise their game in the numerous education settings. Thank goodness he prevailed and went on to be so successful. Now I can model my next steps as a new head on what and how he did it.

G.H.

Newly Appointed Headteacher

5 Stars

An excellent read and an admirable career

Interesting to read the highs and lows of a teacher/headteacher in England and his journey from student to those positions. It is hard not to think how crazy it is that so much effort had to go into creating an ‘outstanding’ education in schools with national & local government and the attitude of some teachers (and their unions) at times so adversarial. Despite this the author’s resilience and what you English would call ‘dogged determination’ kept him going to achieve such inspirational things. An excellent read and an admirable career. Gut gemacht, Herr Johnson.

Uwe Kamz

Teacher in Germany

5 Stars

Let’s look after School Leaders such as Mr Kim Johnson 

I really enjoyed reading Kim’s book and feel inspired by his resolute and professional endeavour in a tough educational sector. The concern that it had such an impact on him at one stage in his ‘journey’ shows how there is a need for greater care and supervision for such school leaders for we cannot let them go under if children are to prosper in quality educational settings such as he succeeding in running to brilliant effect.

Dr D. B.

(Ed Psych)

5 Stars

Fascinating and Inspirational!

As a parent of a child with SEND I found this book to be a wonderful insight into what makes a special school leader tick. Kim Johnson clearly gave a huge part of his life to ensuring there truly was (as he puts it) ‘no ceiling to their learning’. Undoubtedly he touched the lives of so many children and young adults with care, compassion, fun , laughter and determination to be proud of who they were and could go on to be. His understanding and relationship with SEND is a breath of fresh air to the likes of me and my child. Kim Johnson’s story is fascinating and inspirational and I’ve read it twice now!

Parent of a 13yr old with complex SEND

5 Stars

A ‘Great Read’ to help remember the joy of the job

I love my job albeit that some days it’s tough as a SENCO in a school. To read this book is to be encouraged to remember why I do it and how enjoyable & fulfilling it really is. A great story and a great read.

S Thorpe

SENCO

5 Stars

Thanks Mr J!


The author was my Headteacher when I was in an EBD School due to my troubled teenage years. Always firm but fair …. direct but caring ….. his ability to encourage change and make me believe I could sustain it eventually worked. I look back now and realise how much I owe him. My past is a chapter of my own life which I don’t  share and thanks to him I have successfully moved on from. Your book is a great read sir and sits on my bookshelf as a fond reminder of you. Thanks Mr J!

Stephen

Ex Pupil of the late 1990

5 Stars

Can’t be true …. Can it ? Wonderful Book!


 Well I enjoyed this book and remain amazed after the ups and downs, the trials with certain staff and parents, the battles with some Ofsted inspectors & LEA staff and politicians that the author remained so positive about his 39 years in education. A true professional and inspiring character with a single minded focus on providing the very best for the most challenging and disenfranchised children in our education system. A captivating read worthy of a bigger audience than just those in teaching.

John Trueman

5 Stars

Did more than made me think … made me change my career pathway ! Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


The Head of 6th Form told me of this book and said my mum (a SENCO in a secondary school) would like it as a birthday present. So I bought it, then just had to read it myself. Well the result was my mum got it as a second hand book, I enjoyed the read myself and have now applied for teacher training after all the things I’d previously said ! Quite a story, quite a journey and undoubtedly quite a character. I look forward to working with the likes of Kim Johnson as a school leader once qualified and hope to enjoy similar highs in the profession. My mum is reading the book now and her smile is as much about what it has done for me as it is in celebrating the joy of reading about working in SEND.

Thomas F.

(Still a 6th Former)

5 Stars

Inspiring Book …What a great insight into teaching


As a relatively new teacher this book caught my eye and I thought it a worthy read. Oh how I was so pleased to have done so as it captured my attention and I enjoyed it throughout. So interesting to see the author’s journey from being a pupil at Primary School all the way to four headships in quite different, difficult and testing schools. I’d recommend this to anyone in teaching or entertaining the thought of embarking on such a career. It most certainly won’t put you off ….. quite the opposite it will encourage you to be adventurous and positive in your own journey. That’s how it has impacted on me and I’m grateful to Kim. 

Romy C.

Teacher & Acting SENCO

5 Stars

An Authentic Account of a Dedicated School Leader


Kim Johnson’s book is a really great read and so very authentic. It really comes alive with such a rich blend of the personal and the professional impactful events and large shifts in his life.His humanity and dedication shines through on every page. Such lovely memories conveyed by him and illustrating how his journey shaped him to become a great leader with many schools where his fantastic work transformed numerous lives. 

 

John Rolfe MBE

British Council, London

5 Stars

An absorbing mixture of the personal and the professional 


This is a book which will definitely interest those within the education field but will equally entertain a general audience. Childhood memories and personal stories combine with insights into the world of education. I especially enjoyed the many accounts of interactions with a variety of students. It is clear that, to Kim, his involvement in teaching and education was more than a career, it was a lifelong vocation. He has made his mark across a range of educational settings and has improved the life chances of many students along the way. It’s a good read!

Nora Byrne

Lead PSHCE Teacher - Special Academy

5 Stars

A fascinating insight into the admirable drive of a successful school leader. 


I found this book totally fascinating and admire the drive and dedication Kim Johnson showed in order to make things happen in his numerous schools. Progress in an educational organisation is dependent on having a clear message that all members can identify with so they can support their Headteacher and also feel supported themselves. It is absolutely clear that Kim achieved that.Kim’s specific examples (what a memory!) give real strength to his story and showed how hands on he was and how he was very dedicated to his staff team and students. Both so vital and key to his lengthy success as a school leader.

Gilbert McGinn

Retired Secondary Senior Teacher & Independent School Inspector

5 Stars
Interesting read

Coming from a different industry I found it encouraging to read that the public sector has similar challenges to the private one, requiring brave leadership to avoid giving recognition to mediocrity and driving excellent people to continuously improve.

Mike B.

Retired COO

5 Stars
Great Memory!

Fascinating story of the author’s life ….. great memory recall!

John T.

Retired Engineer

5 Stars
An amazing book by a forward-thinking and caring school leader. 

Just after the author arrived to be Headteacher at my school setting I bumped into an old friend who happened to be teaching in the school he was leaving. He said, “Kim Johnson Mmmm. So sad he is leaving us but he will take your school to places you never thought you could go!” In due course these words soon became the reality for me, others on our staff team and our students.The book is full of amazing recollections from his successful career as a forward thinking school leader who genuinely cared for all in his care. He certainly changed my thought processes which impacted on my career progression and in turn my outlook on life, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Di Jenkins

Former AHT in SEND Specialist Provision

5 Stars
Insightful Book on the success needed to face the challenges of Headship

This excellent book provides a real insight into the realities of headship and of the determination needed to make a success of what is a demanding and challenging role. So interesting to see how the author doesn’t give up in the face of the absence of effective leadership from national and local government. I look forward to talking to him about it sometime in the future.
Peter Johnson

Educational Consultant & Leadership Mentor

5 Stars
Honest and life affirming


I’ve known Kim for about a decade and he’s been a great colleague and friend in that time. Reading his book has opened up so much more of this remarkable man. It details in open honesty the trials and tribulations of being a Head and the joys that keep us in the job for decades (in some cases!). Unlike other books on leadership, this is one where the story and people/characters come first and the ‘lessons’ are side dishes, as it should be. The only slight critique I might supply is that I wanted to know the names of schools, people and places – but Kim, kind as ever, has kept those out where others might have ‘named’ and occasionally (because of the actions) ‘shamed’. A wonderful account of a humble life of great public service.
Robert Campbell

Retired CEO of Cambridgeshire Multi Academy Trust

5 Stars
Informative and enjoyable read

A well written account of one man’s life experiences and of the battles fought to enhance the lives of those in his care. Written as an autobiography it forces one to reflect upon one’s own working practices as well as being a beacon of inspiration for those just starting out on the journey that is education. Full of humour, pathos and imagination, it is a book that will appeal to not just the education practitioner, but to anyone seeking a genuinely informative and enjoyable read.

David Shanks

Retired Senior Teacher of London SEMH Special School

5 Stars
A fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education.

This book charts the fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education, both at a local and national level. Full of wit and wisdom, it is a timely, and much-needed reminder, of what draws us into teaching. A timeless story of someone who wanted (and succeeded!) in making a difference. An inspiring read.

James Hilton

Nationally acclaimed author and speaker on School Leadership Well-Being.

5 Stars

Awesome Account of an Amazing Headteacher 


When you consider the choice the author made to work with some of the most challenging 7-16 year old boys in our school system … and the fact he was hit, punched, spat at and even stabbed … yet stuck with them to try and get them to aspire to calm, respectful and honest ways … You just have to admire him. This book tells the story of a man, teacher and school leader who loved his job and to put it quite simply : I am in awe of him. It’s the detail of interactions with EBD pupils and conversational exchanges with them and teaching colleagues (parents and many others) which give his book its unique impact. What a story …. tremendous to follow Kim’s journey from boyhood to nationally known school leader.

Rob D.

Social Worker & ex-Teacher

5 Stars

An absorbing mixture of the personal and the professional 


This is a book which will definitely interest those within the education field but will equally entertain a general audience. Childhood memories and personal stories combine with insights into the world of education. I especially enjoyed the many accounts of interactions with a variety of students. It is clear that, to Kim, his involvement in teaching and education was more than a career, it was a lifelong vocation. He has made his mark across a range of educational settings and has improved the life chances of many students along the way. It’s a good read!

Nora Byrne

Lead PSHCE Teacher - Special Academy

5 Stars

A fascinating insight into the admirable drive of a successful school leader. 


I found this book totally fascinating and admire the drive and dedication Kim Johnson showed in order to make things happen in his numerous schools. Progress in an educational organisation is dependent on having a clear message that all members can identify with so they can support their Headteacher and also feel supported themselves. It is absolutely clear that Kim achieved that.Kim’s specific examples (what a memory!) give real strength to his story and showed how hands on he was and how he was very dedicated to his staff team and students. Both so vital and key to his lengthy success as a school leader.

Gilbert McGinn

Retired Secondary Senior Teacher & Independent School Inspector

5 Stars
Interesting read

Coming from a different industry I found it encouraging to read that the public sector has similar challenges to the private one, requiring brave leadership to avoid giving recognition to mediocrity and driving excellent people to continuously improve.

Mike B.

Retired COO

5 Stars
Great Memory!

Fascinating story of the author’s life ….. great memory recall!

John T.

Retired Engineer

5 Stars
An amazing book by a forward-thinking and caring school leader. 

Just after the author arrived to be Headteacher at my school setting I bumped into an old friend who happened to be teaching in the school he was leaving. He said, “Kim Johnson Mmmm. So sad he is leaving us but he will take your school to places you never thought you could go!” In due course these words soon became the reality for me, others on our staff team and our students.The book is full of amazing recollections from his successful career as a forward thinking school leader who genuinely cared for all in his care. He certainly changed my thought processes which impacted on my career progression and in turn my outlook on life, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Di Jenkins

Former AHT in SEND Specialist Provision

5 Stars
Insightful Book on the success needed to face the challenges of Headship

This excellent book provides a real insight into the realities of headship and of the determination needed to make a success of what is a demanding and challenging role. So interesting to see how the author doesn’t give up in the face of the absence of effective leadership from national and local government. I look forward to talking to him about it sometime in the future.
Peter Johnson

Educational Consultant & Leadership Mentor

5 Stars
Honest and life affirming


I’ve known Kim for about a decade and he’s been a great colleague and friend in that time. Reading his book has opened up so much more of this remarkable man. It details in open honesty the trials and tribulations of being a Head and the joys that keep us in the job for decades (in some cases!). Unlike other books on leadership, this is one where the story and people/characters come first and the ‘lessons’ are side dishes, as it should be. The only slight critique I might supply is that I wanted to know the names of schools, people and places – but Kim, kind as ever, has kept those out where others might have ‘named’ and occasionally (because of the actions) ‘shamed’. A wonderful account of a humble life of great public service.
Robert Campbell

Retired CEO of Cambridgeshire Multi Academy Trust

5 Stars
Informative and enjoyable read

A well written account of one man’s life experiences and of the battles fought to enhance the lives of those in his care. Written as an autobiography it forces one to reflect upon one’s own working practices as well as being a beacon of inspiration for those just starting out on the journey that is education. Full of humour, pathos and imagination, it is a book that will appeal to not just the education practitioner, but to anyone seeking a genuinely informative and enjoyable read.

David Shanks

Retired Senior Teacher of London SEMH Special School

5 Stars
A fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education.

This book charts the fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education, both at a local and national level. Full of wit and wisdom, it is a timely, and much-needed reminder, of what draws us into teaching. A timeless story of someone who wanted (and succeeded!) in making a difference. An inspiring read.

James Hilton

Nationally acclaimed author and speaker on School Leadership Well-Being.

5 Stars
Interesting read

Coming from a different industry I found it encouraging to read that the public sector has similar challenges to the private one, requiring brave leadership to avoid giving recognition to mediocrity and driving excellent people to continuously improve.

Mike B.

Retired COO

5 Stars
Great Memory!

Fascinating story of the author’s life ….. great memory recall!

John T.

Retired Engineer

5 Stars
An amazing book by a forward-thinking and caring school leader. 

Just after the author arrived to be Headteacher at my school setting I bumped into an old friend who happened to be teaching in the school he was leaving. He said, “Kim Johnson Mmmm. So sad he is leaving us but he will take your school to places you never thought you could go!” In due course these words soon became the reality for me, others on our staff team and our students.The book is full of amazing recollections from his successful career as a forward thinking school leader who genuinely cared for all in his care. He certainly changed my thought processes which impacted on my career progression and in turn my outlook on life, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Di Jenkins

Former AHT in SEND Specialist Provision

5 Stars
Insightful Book on the success needed to face the challenges of Headship

This excellent book provides a real insight into the realities of headship and of the determination needed to make a success of what is a demanding and challenging role. So interesting to see how the author doesn’t give up in the face of the absence of effective leadership from national and local government. I look forward to talking to him about it sometime in the future.
Peter Johnson

Educational Consultant & Leadership Mentor

5 Stars
Honest and life affirming


I’ve known Kim for about a decade and he’s been a great colleague and friend in that time. Reading his book has opened up so much more of this remarkable man. It details in open honesty the trials and tribulations of being a Head and the joys that keep us in the job for decades (in some cases!). Unlike other books on leadership, this is one where the story and people/characters come first and the ‘lessons’ are side dishes, as it should be. The only slight critique I might supply is that I wanted to know the names of schools, people and places – but Kim, kind as ever, has kept those out where others might have ‘named’ and occasionally (because of the actions) ‘shamed’. A wonderful account of a humble life of great public service.
Robert Campbell

Retired CEO of Cambridgeshire Multi Academy Trust

5 Stars
Informative and enjoyable read

A well written account of one man’s life experiences and of the battles fought to enhance the lives of those in his care. Written as an autobiography it forces one to reflect upon one’s own working practices as well as being a beacon of inspiration for those just starting out on the journey that is education. Full of humour, pathos and imagination, it is a book that will appeal to not just the education practitioner, but to anyone seeking a genuinely informative and enjoyable read.

David Shanks

Retired Senior Teacher of London SEMH Special School

5 Stars
A fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education.

This book charts the fascinating journey of an inspirational leader of education, both at a local and national level. Full of wit and wisdom, it is a timely, and much-needed reminder, of what draws us into teaching. A timeless story of someone who wanted (and succeeded!) in making a difference. An inspiring read.

James Hilton

Nationally acclaimed author and speaker on School Leadership Well-Being.

5 Stars
From troubled teenager to the inspirational leader of schools.

Kim Johnson movingly relates his 40-year war against mediocrity in education. A champion of aspiration for all, not least those bearing the stigma of “special educational needs”, he argues that sometimes you need to break the rules to reform them. We readers back him through every battle, institutional and personal.
Andrew Billen

Writer at The Times


5 Stars
A Life Dedicated to Education & SEN

I have just finished this book. A really interesting read, a life dedicated to education and SEN. Really inspirational to read and to make us all think about our journeys!

Caron Nott

Executive Headteacher of ICMAT (The Rowans Alternative Provision Academy)

4 Stars
An antidote for mediocrity in educational leadership


Johnson has written an alluring biography. His experiences in schools – from his earliest childhood memories to his later role in top-end educational management – vividly illustrate the heights that can be reached in schools by dedicated, inspirational and – most importantly – visionary leadership; his experiences in dealing with institutional mediocrity equally illustrate the depths to which school attainment can plunge when dedication, inspiration and vision is wanting. This book should be compulsory reading for jaded educationalists at all levels. However, it is also warm and un-technical in language and as such will appeal both to the educational professional and the general reader. A most enjoyable read! ‘Mr Burrows gave the book a 4-star rating. Below is his reasoning…’ My yardstick for a  5-star award is rather high, I should explain: the work has to be better than Shakespeare or the King James Bible.

Harry Burrows

TEFL teacher, trainer and consultant. A ‘Qualified Commendation’ received from University student colleague who was last seen in 1977

5 Stars
This book drips with experience, understanding and integrity. 

Kim’s experience is as deep as it is wide. There is so much for teachers and leaders here in all settings. Kim reveals the roots of his practice through his own story. This book drips with experience, understanding, and integrity. Kim shows us how great leaders are made. His experience is striking, relevant, and inspiring.

Paul Dix

Internationally acclaimed author, leader and speaker on Behaviour in Schools.

5 Stars
Inspirational reading for the aspiring teacher.

Kim draws on years of varied, multidisciplinary experiences to document successful strategies for achieving success as a teacher and especially a leader in getting the best out of students. Kim emphasises the need to focus on understanding pupils and students first, and of establishing mutually respectful relationships prior to sharing subject content.

This book should be a compulsory read for any aspiring teacher, headteacher, governor, LEA adviser or OFSTED inspector.

David Uffindall

JP & Ex Drugs Education Consultant

5 Stars
Fascinating Insight to a life dedicated to Education.

I found this book very readable.  I really liked the historical aspect of how childhood experiences feed into the development of the author’s career at the top of education for Special Needs and disabilities. I was struck by the management of behavioral change in driving progress in an educational environment.  Not too dissimilar to dragging commerce into the future!! All in all a great read!

Chris Dunnett

Ex Business CEO, UK Entrepreneur & Investment Angel

5 Stars
A fascinating account of a life spent in education from schooldays to senior leadership.

Kim has written a fascinating biography in which the strands of both his personal and professional life are skilfully inter-woven to produce a rich tapestry illustrating the highs, lows and everything in between of a life spent working in education. Entertaining, instructive and, at times, amazing; this is a book to be both enjoyed and shared.

Paul Fox

Education, Training and Development Consultant