Join A Mastermind

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The mastermind is a hybrid group coaching and leadership development community designed by Daniel Bauer. Join 70+ school leaders from every continent (except Antarctica).

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We believe everyone wins when a leader gets better. Everyone wins when YOU get better.

The mastermind is a hybrid group coaching and leadership development community designed by Daniel Bauer.

Mastermind members are:
“Supportive, wise, and not afraid to kick your butt!” — Eileen, Deputy Head, Qingdao, China


Join the Mastermind Waitlist

Thank you for your interest in the BLBS Mastermind.

Each member is hand-picked to join our community.

Applying is the first step.

I regularly review applications and reach out for an admissions interview. During our call I’d love to hear more about you, your school, and your #1 challenge. We’ll also explore how the Mastermind could serve you as well as the value you bring to the group. If it’s a great fit, we’ll then talk next steps and get you enrolled in this exclusive group?

Expect to spend 2-3 hours leveling up your leadership a week.

One hour is devoted to the group meeting.

One hour is blocked for leadership reading or other leadership exercise (although it may not take that long).

(AN OPTIONAL) hour maybe used to engage in with other members in our private online community.

Are you the type of leader that invests in leadership coaching and connecting with our world-class network of leaders?

Mastermind membership is $350/month.

The majority of members invest out-of-pocket or cover their membership with school/district funds.

Is it worth it?

The mastermind has taught me that breaking the isolation is one of the most POWERFUL things a leader can do. We can’t do it all by ourselves, yet we try very hard to do so – at least until we learn that we’re better together. Through our incredible book studies, “hot seat” experiences, and regular networking, the mastermind has taught me that:

1) it’s okay to take risks – even if you fail

2) vulnerability can be a powerful thing – especially when you have a support system like this, and

3) regular participating in a leadership COMMUNITY is more energizing that you can imagine

— Nick, Principal, Virginia

If you have any questions in the meantime feel free to contact me

The best part of the mastermind is…

“The community, the support, but also being held accountable for pursuing my own professional development.”
—Philippe, Principal, Boston, MA

“The supportive community. School leadership can be isolating, but knowing I have a team of other school leaders with whom to share ideas, struggles, and wins gives me the courage and resolve to do what’s best for my school community.”
—Michelle, AP, Clarksville, MD

“The people, that although I’ve never met in person, feel like family.”
—Chris, VP, Kamloops, BC, Canada

The mastermind has inspired me t0…

“Never give up on my goals.”
—Renee, AP, Allentown, PA

“Be brave enough to push boundaries and explore opportunities.”
—Rob, Principal, Cameron, NC

“Not be afraid to expand my influence in education as a leader.”
—Tyson, Principal, Hugoton, KS

The mastermind changed…

“My heart and sense that this piece of me (that connection to other leaders) NEEDS to be filled.”
—Jess, Principal, Chicago, IL

“My ability to succeed in attaining my why by providing a community that challenges me, offers insights, and supports continuous improvement.”
—Christopher, Principal, Hanson, MA

“My thinking about and use of time. I’m more focused on deep work and reducing shallow tasks.”
—Amy, Principal, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Mastermind?

For too many school leaders, PD is Too-Little-Too-Late, Unhelpful, and Disconnected.

The mastermind redefines professional learning for school admin …

We offer Relevant, Responsive, and Results-Oriented Professional Development™.

Relevant because we talk about what is currently happening in educationa and what we anticipate the future to bring.

Responsive because we meet you where you’re at and help you solve your #1 challenge each week.

Results-Oriented because if you’re not applying what we teach and what you learn, it’s really just a waste of everyone’s time.

The The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ runs on the ABCs of Powerful Professional Development ®.

By intentionally integrating Authenticity, Belonging, and Challenge something magical and transformational occurs.

You can learn all about the value, transformation, and investment required to join the mastermind right by reading Mastermind: Unlocking Talent Within Every School Leader where you can peek behind the curtain and find out about the Mastermind in detail.

Recently on the podcast, we have been highlighting Mastermind members’ stories, so that’s another great way to find out what we’re all about.

When am I able to join?
Currently, there are rolling admissions until each mastermind cohort is “full.” If you go through the application process and we determine that it is a good fit, you may join as soon as the first meeting of the upcoming month.
When do groups meet? How often do groups meet?
We have a variety of groups that meet mostly in the evenings Monday – Thursday. We have three women’s only cohorts and will be launching our first BIPOC cohort in the summer of 2023.
I’m worried that I’ll get lost in the group, do you offer private coaching?
Danny does offer private coaching. Your investment will be in the range of $4500-9000. Tack on an additional $5K for a 2-day visit to your school site.
What is the pace or rhythm of the group. How much time do I need to invest?

We currently meet weekly taking only four breaks throughout the year:
One week for Thanksgiving (USA)
Two weeks for Winter Holidays / New Years
One week for July 4

The last week of the year is off for The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™ so we can host a group coaching call for The Principal Success Path™ (included in your mastermind membership).

You can count on investing about 2-3 hours a week in The Ruckus Maker Mastermind™:

2-3 hours because:
*Each weekly meeting is one hour
*We read one leadership book every two months – you’ll need about an hour a week to read and annotate.
*We have a private Basecamp platform. This is where the additional hour of time would come in. It’s not mandatory, but the conversation continues via Basecamp and again — you’ll get more out of the group, the more you engage.

Does Danny personally facilitate the mastermind?
Danny’s team of expert coaches are the “default” facilitators for every meeting. In most cohorts, members take turns facilitating, which adds more creativity and better resources to each meeting. Rotating facilitators also increases ownership of the community and has pushed leaders to develop even more skills by presenting regularly to world-class peers.
What is the size of the mastermind?
Groups are full at 15 members. There are currently 10 groups and around 80 members.
What topics does the mastermind focus on?
We talk education and leadership deeply. We also discuss individual needs like balance, family, and health. Each month there is a great leadership book to discuss. After that, the group caters to the needs of each member. So the theme is always the same (where do you need help this week?), but the focus is different because of the personalized nature of the program.


Is there an application process?

You better believe it! The number one reason the mastermind thrives is the quality of the membership. So to that extent, I personally vet every applicant to uphold the quality of our community. There is a simple application, that you can fill out! It takes around ten minutes to complete.

When might a spot open?

Currently, the mastermind has rolling admissions. If a seat is open, you can join! We’ve opened four new cohorts in the last year so we are confident there is space for you 🙂

Do you have advice on the mastermind application?

Be honest, authentic, and yourself. We are very interested in:
– Why you want to join.
– The current obstacles you face.
– What value you bring to our community (we are a give-to-give community … we’re not interested in entertaining “takers”).

Who's in the mastermind?

80 leaders in the local school or central office. These leaders are in private, public, charter, and independent schools. Members are currently located in the following states and countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Germany
  • France
  • USA
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Delaware
    • Kentucky
    • Florida
    • Kansas
    • Louisiana
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • North Carolina
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Pennsylvania
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin
  • Saudia Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Tunisia
Who is an ideal mastermind member?

The mastermind is for people who believe:

  • leading in community is better than leading in isolation
  • that leadership is an art that can be learned
  • that the path to exponential leadership is through vulnerability and community
  • big problems can be solved and it’s exciting to do so


And for people who want:

  • support, connection, and community
  • to take their leadership to the next level
  • to engage in discussion about education and leadership that will challenge you to level up


I promise that engaging in the mastermind will help you:

  • grow into the leader that you dream of and that your community deserves


If you can relate to those ideas, you’re almost there … an ideal mastermind member has these five characteristics as well:

  1. Driven by an inspiring mission and/or vision
  2. Desire to create a big impact
  3. Is working to solve an interesting problem
  4. Ready to commit to showing up and doing the work
  5. Has a “give-to-give” mentality.


Will I get in?

Maybe. The factors:

  • Am I an “ideal mastermind member”?
  • Am I ready to level up and invest in my development?
  • Is there space?
What time zones/regions are eligible to apply?

Every single time zone. Please refer to the application page to see current cohort offerings. As of Sept 9, 2022 there are nine cohorts. Most focus on N. American time zone (which works for early morning Australians and New Zealanders). We also have one cohort that focuses on Africa/Europe/Middle Eastern time zones.

Is there an application fee?

Not at this time, but maybe in the future. At BLBS, we don’t need that for revenue. We can see it as a great way to separate leaders from those that are just window shopping and those who are ready to take their leadership to the next level.


If I am not accepted into the mastermind can I reapply?

Yes. If you’re not accepted into the mastermind, that means you didn’t illustrate how you are an ideal member of our community. Read that section over and do the personal work needed to become that leader. And after you have transformed, wait another six months and then reapply.


What can I expect?

Expect that you have found your tribe. If you are a rebel leader and ready to connect with a thriving community of authentic, innovative, and driven leaders, then welcome home ?


Meetings are (generally) every week for one hour. We share wins and offer accountability. We discuss leadership books from outside our industry. The “secret sauce” is the hot seat where a member gives the group context of a current challenge and we help her solve it. It’s magic.


How long is the term of membership? Are there contracts?

That’s your call. We have original members still in the group from when we launched in 2016. I tell all new apllicants to stick around for at least three months to see that our philosophy “sticks.” This will also give enough time to actually get to know other members and take action on what you learn in the mastermind.


After that the message is always the same — stay as long as you are growing and getting value from our community. If that ever changes, it is time to go.


How much is mastermind membership? Do you offer discounts?

Currently mastermind membership is $350/month. If you have the runway to invest for the year, we can offer a generous discount.

The mastermind is the best investment in your professional and personal growth available to you.


Can my district pay?

Absolutely! In fact, more and more members are asking their districts to cover the expense and many are saying “Yes!” The answer is always “No” unless you ask.

What kind of books do you read?

All kinds, but mostly books from outside our industry! My leadership approach is to expose you to great ideas and thinking outside of education. Let’s face it, you’re going to read plenty of education books without my help!


Here is a list of what we read (and will be reading) in the mastermind:

What types of payment are accepted?

Most members pay out-of-pocket, but some have successfully had their school / district cover the mastermind membership dues using PD or Title I funds. For those that pay out-of-pocket, it’s as easy as entering your card information one time on my secure website. Otherwise we can go the quote, PO, invoice route if your school / district will cover the investment in your leadership growth.

What is your refund policy?

The mastermind offers a 90-day money back guarantee.

If you are not thrilled with your experience and believe that the mastermind is helping you become a more effective leader, then we will happily return 100% of your investment.

To qualify for a refund there are two agreements:

  • You agree to have excellent attendance (80% or higher). There is no way you will be thrilled or grow if you don’t show up.
  • You agree to take action on what we teach. John Doerr said it best, “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.” If you don’t apply what we teach, how do you expect to grow?
What is your deferral policy?

There is no deferral policy. If you are accepted into the mastermind you are welcome to join as long as seats remain. If you wait and seat is taken — sorry. We value action takers and leaders that are ready to immediately level up.


Do you offer scholarships?

At this time we do not offer scholarships.

Are reimbursements possible?

Some members have successfully asked their district to reimburse their investment in the mastermind.

What is your attendance policy?

There isn’t an official policy. If you miss a number of meetings, you can expect me to reach out and make sure everything is okay.

Three principles to consider when reflecting on attendance:

  1. You’ll get more from the experience the more you contribute (and attend meetings)
  2. We want to hear from you. Part of what makes the mastermind magical is the great perspectives from the community. We don’t get that if you are absent.
  3. If you are chronically absent, I may ask you to exit the group since your contribution is not making the group better.


Mastermind YesAQ

I heard this quote the other day from Joel Weldon: “Success comes in cans, not in cannots.” Wow. Reminds me a lot of the power of the “Yes, and…!” in improv comedy. 

And that’s the spirit behind a YesAQ. I learned about it from the altMBA and they cited the team at Basecamp who cited a rest stop in the Illinois-Wisconsin toll road. The leadership lesson: leaders empower and remove obstacles. So here is our giant list of questions that the answer is always “Yes” too.

Yes for the application:

  • Can I apply if I’m a veteran school leader?
  • Can I apply if I’m new to school leadership?
  • Can I apply if I’m a teacher with admin credentials currently looking for an admin job?
  • Can I apply if I live outside of the USA?
  • Do you read each application?
  • Does it matter what I put on the application?
  • Do you really turn some leaders away?
  • If I’m accepted can I ask additional questions before joining?
  • Do you handpick each member?

Yes for our meetings:

  • Can I wear pajama pants and a tee shirt?
  • Can I miss meetings when there is a school or personal family function?
  • Can I facilitate a meeting?
  • When I facilitate can I change the format of the meeting?
  • Can I ask personal questions during the hot seat?
  • Are meetings really an hour?
  • Will I be challenged and sometimes uncomfortable during meetings?
  • Will the meetings change my life and help me level-up?
  • Are earbuds (or other headphones) enough to participate in the meeting?
  • Can I connect to a meeting on a laptop?
  • Can I connect to a meeting on a smartphone or tablet?

Yes outside of meeting times:

  • Can I contact you outside of meeting times?
  • Can I contact other leaders outside of meeting times?
  • Can I share resources after the meeting?
  • Is there an organized place where you keep all mastermind resources?
  • Do we ever meet face-to-face as a mastermind?

Yes for the books we read:

  • Do you ship me the book we read?
  • Can I have a kindle or audible version of the book?
  • Will I enjoy the reading?
  • Should I take notes while I read?
  • Will I share key takeaways or create projects based on the reading?

Convinced yet?

The Mastermind can change your life and make you a better leader, if you only let it!