Sample Mastermind Topics

Each Mastermind topic below was covered in a Mastermind session and included materials for study and discussion.

Leading in Uncertain Times

Leaders explore the challenges and opportunities associated with leading through VUCA (Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous) times.


Leaders identify priorities for the year and explore the why / how of prioritization. Participants learn 3 key skills and explore the Eisenhower Matrix and other tools to support planning.

Effective Leadership Teams

Leaders learn about the 3 keys to establishing effective leadership team culture (Know Ourselves as Leaders, Build Trust & Build Purpose).

Unfinished Teaching and Learning

Leaders explore the impact of the pandemic and learn some strategies for mitigating learning loss / addressing unfinished teaching and learning.


Leaders explore 5 key Mindset Changes Needed for More Equitable Schools, based on the ideas in the book Unconscious Bias in Schools.


Leaders read about and discuss how a culture of physical safety, strong relationships and continuous improvement can be built and sustained in schools.


Leaders explore ways in which they take care of themselves in order to take care of others, while also working on building communities of care in their schools/districts.

Beyond Burnout

Rather than supporting teachers with one-time mindfulness sessions, we introduced a way to address burnout proactively when planning initiatives and for reopening in the fall by using self-determination theory. Read more.

Virtual Coaching / Virtual Classroom Visits

Leaders collect and study strategies and techniques for administering effective virtual visits and coaching sessions.

Student Engagement

Leaders share and explore research-based strategies for engaging students, in both virtual and in-person contexts.

Deeper Conversations

Participants explore a David Brooks column on deeper conversations and engage in activities exploring the implications for school leaders and instructional coaches.

Build Better Habits

Timed with the New Year, leaders read 4 Laws of Behavior Change to Help Build Better Habits, based on Atomic Habits, by James Clear. Leaders identify personal/professional habits they would like to start, along with strategies to ensure success.

Leader Credibility

Based on ideas in The Distance Learning Playbook for School Leaders, participants explore 4 components of their credibility: Trust, Competence, Passion and Accessibility.

Social Emotional Learning

Based on the ideas in Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom: Practical Guide for Integrating All SEL Skills into Instruction and Classroom Management, leaders learn about 5 critical SEL skills: self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship management and responsible decision-making.

Coaching Conversations

Leaders reflect on their approach to coaching using Justin Baeder’s 10 Coaching Questions.

Evaluating Professional Learning

This reflective session explores Thomas Guskey’s work on the Five Levels of Impact professional development has on teaching and learning.

Adaptive Leadership

This introduction to Adaptive Leadership explores some of the key concepts in The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Alexander Heifetz and Marty Linsky. Leaders are introduced to the differences between technical problems and adaptive challenges.

Leader Reflection

Participants explore four key Emotional Intelligence skills (Self-awareness, Self-management, Social awareness & Relationship management) and hone in on reflection as a critical component of each skill.

Hiring for Diversity

Participants look at the importance of diversifying our educational staffs, share best practices, and explore the issue of bias in the hiring process, particularly with video interviews.

Effective Grading Practices

Participants learn the key grading principles that guide effective practice and explore ways to influence the mindsets of teachers to rethink traditional practices that harm student learning.

Accelerated Learning

Identifying effective leverage points is critical for school leaders. Participants identify how schedules, staffing structures and curriculum and assessment could support accelerated learning for 2021-22.

Masterminds - Coaching PD Principals - The Main Idea

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Jenn David-Lang

Mitch Center

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About the facilitators

Jenn David-Lang - Author, Masterminds, PD Counseling - The Main IdeaMitch Center - Educational Consulting

Jenn David-Lang, author of The Main Idea, and Mitch Center, owner of Center Educational Consulting, have been supporting leaders across the country for over twenty years. They have teamed up to convene virtual communities of school & district leaders that provide resources, feedback, strategies, and support to one another.