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Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader

First Edition

Foreword by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, A Joint Publication with AASA, The School Superintendents Association

September 2021 | 264 pages | Corwin

The secret behind limitless leadership impact

Lack of mentorship and coaching is a leading reason for leader attrition in education, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If it’s true that “Everyone wins when the leader gets better,” then your community is counting on you to prioritize your own professional growth – so that YOU get better.

In Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader, Daniel Bauer – highly sought-after coach and mentor to thousands of school leaders –  introduces readers to a strategic advantage relied on by business leaders since the 1930s. The mastermind is an exceptional PD model for leaders looking to level up – and if this advantage worked for people like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and FDR, what could it do for you and your school? Framed around the ABCs of Powerful Professional DevelopmentTM, this book will provide school leaders with:

  • Templates and tools for starting and running successful mastermind groups
  • Protocols to encourage collaboration, dialogue, and problem solving so school leaders can work together to overcome challenges
  • Stories of impact from education mastermind participants all over the world

The question is – what would you be able to accomplish within your school if you showed up this year as the leader you were meant to be?

About the Author
Alarming Trends

What Successful People Do

The Origins of the Mastermind

My Mastermind Origin Story

What You’ll Find in This Book

Ichi-go Ichi-e

Part I
Chapter 1. The Problem With PD


Missed Opportunities

Chapter 1 Reflection Questions

Chapter 2. The Solution
Mastermind Snapshot

The Ideal Member

The Model

Chapter 2 Reflection Questions

Part II
Chapter 3. Authenticity



Chapter 3 Reflection Questions

Chapter 4. Belonging
Shared Purpose

Inclusive Environments


Chapter 4 Reflection Questions

Chapter 5. Challenge

Taking Action

Powerful Community

Chapter 5 Reflection Questions

The Only Game Worth Playing

A Brief Look Back

An Invitation

Reference List

Daniel Bauer has the ability to deeply engage others in how to be better leaders, share what he has learned in the process, and offer it in a book. Mastermind is not just engaging from the first sentence; it offers research and practice that can help us have a deeper impact on leading and learning.

Peter DeWitt
Leadership Coach, Author, Collective Leader Efficacy and Instructional Leadership, Albany, NY

Daniel Bauer has created incredible communities for educational leaders worldwide. In this fun-to-read, inspiring, and practical book, Danny shares with us his rationale for starting mastermind communities and how he designs this specific type of professional learning for leaders. You learn how masterminds can create tremendous growth for all who participate.

Jennifer Abrams
Communications Consultant, Author, Stretching Your Learning Edges: Growing (Up) at Work and Having Hard Conversations, Palo Alto, CA

When we are isolated we are not fully aware of the possibilities. Daniel does an amazing job in Mastermind revealing what new perspectives offer. Leaning in on unbiased trusted advisors opens the door for unlimited opportunities. Don’t miss this one, school leaders.

Aaron Walker
Founder, View From the Top, Hendersonville, TN

Though Bauer’s book is about how masterminds allow K–12 leaders to reach their potential, I recommend it for those in higher education as well. As a college president, I rely on the tools Bauer highlights: opportunities for mentorship, investment in personal growth, a push for innovation, support networks, and the capacity to see challenges and issues through multiple perspectives.

Hilary L. Link
President, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

Bauer reveals how isolation, lack of trust, and inadequate professional growth opportunities not only limit the influence of a leader, but even worse, could propel them to leave the profession altogether. The mastermind concept coupled with his ABCs of powerful professional development™ provide the roadmap all school leaders should follow to ensure they develop the support and connectedness they will need to thrive and not just survive.

Joseph Jones
Superintendent, New Castle County Vocational Technical School District, Executive Officer of TheSchoolHouse302, Newark, DE

As a university professor devoted to teaching excellence, I’d heard of masterminds but didn’t know what they did or value. Daniel Bauer explains them, who does them, why, how, and what to expect from them, illustrated with stories from principals and educators who did them. Now I want to do one. I wish I’d read this book a long time ago.

Joshua Spodek
Professor, New York University, New York City, NY

The concept of a mastermind has long been a way leaders not only transferred knowledge but deepened their own understanding. Especially during a time of global uncertainty, this is an essential book for school leaders to learn how to use their collective experience to grow. Daniel Bauer takes concepts like ‘trust’ and ‘mindset’ and provides actionable ways to build these skills in yourself and others.

Anthony Kim
Author, The NEW School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools

School leadership is tough, isolating work. In Mastermind, Daniel Bauer spotlights the urgent need for school leaders to connect with a supportive cohort of peers so they can grow, get help with the challenges they face, and anchor their work in deeply held values. No one has done more to help leaders connect with each other and continually challenge themselves to be their very best than Danny.

Justin Baeder
Director, The Principal Center

In his book Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader, Daniel Bauer masterfully teaches the true power of creating a mastermind group to become world-class school leaders. From conducting difficult conversations to creating a vision, and so much more, Daniel has created a powerful playbook to unlock your highest leadership potential.

Tommy Breedlove
Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling Author, Legendary, Roswell, GA

Unfortunately, school leaders are the educators who receive the least professional learning in the building. No more! This book—one that reads like a casual conversation, laughing with a trusted colleague—opens up a transformative approach to growing the leaders of our schools. Join Daniel Bauer to learn about a bold new approach to growing leadership skills.

Jenn David-Lang
Editor, THE MAIN IDEA, Brooklyn, NY

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