James Dillon, retired at 59
After working as an elementary school principal for 20 years, James Dillon retired in 2010. His interest in education didn't end there, but Dillon decided he wanted to make a difference around the world. "I'd written a book called 'The Peaceful School Bus,' and it was successful enough that I could publish another book that teaches principals how to approach bullying," Dillon says. "Now that the book is out, I've been doing some training for principals nearby, and I've been asked to speak at some schools in a few countries to help educators."
Dillon, who now lives in Niskayuna, N.Y., with his wife, says he loves the ability to improve schools without being limited by school bureaucracy. "I work a couple of days a week consulting, and other times I write on my blog on things like cyberbullying," he says. "It keeps me busy and allows me to pursue other interests."
In addition to working with educators, Dillon says he's working on a novel for teens. "This lifestyle is only possible because I had my name out in the field while I was still working. That opened up some doors, and getting a book published was a platform that allowed me to do other things," he says.