James D. Burnham received his B.S. in 1967, a Master of Education in 1973, and an M+30 in 1984. He began his career as a secondary high school teacher in 1966-67 by teaching American History, World History, Civics, Junior High P.E. and was assistant football coach. Beginning in 1967-75 he taught General Business, American History, Civics, World Geography, World History, General Math, and English I. In 1975 he became the first full-time high school assistant principal during the tumultuous years of court-mandated school integration. In 1980 he was promoted to principal of the local middle school where he served until 1997. In 1989 he was honored as middle school principal of the year.
Active in various organizations, he was a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Louisiana Association of School Executives, Louisiana Association of Principals, National Middle School Association, Association For Supervision and Curriculum Development, the parish Principals Association, Phi Delta Kappa and Louisiana Association of Computer Users in Education. He has served on the parish textbook adoption committee for Social Studies, the parish committee to write curriculum for computer studies in Middle Schools, and chairman of the local planning committee to construct a new Middle School complex.
In the two small communities where he has resided, he has served as Chairman of Deacons, Training Union Director, and Adult III Sunday School Teacher of his church. He prepares and records Sunday school lessons on tape for shut-ins at his church. He was the founder and former President of a local Jaycee chapter, and was a charter member of a community volunteer Fire Dept. James and his wife, Linda, enjoy living in a small town where "everybody knows everybody." He enjoys retirement and spends as much time as he can afford hunting, fishing, and camping.