For more than 30 years, children in Bradford-on-Avon had their English lessons taught by Mr James.
But at the end of 2016, pupils and parents at St Laurence School were told that Ms James would be teaching them after Christmas.
Two and a half years after going public with her transition, Maddie James has told ITV News she has never felt so fortunate to be accepted as a transgender woman.
Read more: Information on transgender support groups in the West Country.
After the challenge of telling her family, Maddie felt confident to work with Head Teacher Fergus Stewart to come up with a plan for how they would tell staff, students and parents.
On the day the news of Maddie's transition went public, the English teacher says she could not have had a better reception from the school.
Although the process has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, there are some who have worked with Maddie for many years and found the transition at times uncomfortable.
However Maddie hopes her story will encourage others who may be in a similar situation to feel confident about going public.