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A Professional Development Series for Current & Emerging Leaders in Education

Step away from the task list, the isolation, and the incessant demands of school and district administration. The Masterminds Program offers a bright spot on your often overwhelming calendar. In your sessions, engage in refreshing, action-oriented conversations with seasoned attorneys and fellow education administrators, and gain the clarity you need to deliver the support and leadership your colleagues and school communities deserve.

  • Improve morale for yourself and others
  • Hear and understand different viewpoints
  • Define, refine, and recommit to your priorities
  • Learn the risk factors that lead to legal disputes
  • Play with ideas you’ve encountered nowhere else
  • See your familiar territory in a new and positive light
  • Form connections with bright and dedicated leaders, just like you
  • Engaging lectures by Caplan & Earnest attorneys

Space is limited—sign up today to reserve your seat in the 2023-2024 Caplan & Earnest Masterminds Program.

Mastermind Program Tracks

Students with Disabilities

Since the foundation of the Masterminds Program, Masterminds have built this track into a treasured marketplace of ideas for special education leaders throughout the state. These professionals face weighty challenges and overwhelming complexities day after day. Masterminds promotes camaraderie and procedural acumen for these leaders, who serve as essential intermediaries between schools, districts, and families.

Human Resources – NEW

This track will focus on an array of employment-related matters, including FMLA and ADA compliance, workplace investigations, and best practices for recruiting, hiring, disciplining, and terminating personnel. We will focus on these issues as they specifically relate to the rights and obligations of licensed and non-licensed staff in public schools. This track offers HR professionals and administrators with supervisory responsibilities the opportunity to improve their knowledge and awareness of relevant employment laws and to exchange ideas and strategies with peers in other districts for managing challenging personnel matters.

School and District Administration

This marquee Masterminds track provides school and district leaders a steady diet of relevant information spanning the breadth of legal issues encountered by administrators throughout the year, along with a healthy portion of frank, insightful conversations among fellow leaders wrestling with the challenges of modern school and district leadership.

Secretaries to the Board

Board secretaries for local school districts face responsibilities and pressures not experienced by their predecessors: they are expected to adeptly comply with new laws, integrate emerging technology to make meetings more efficient, and ensure accurate meeting information can withstand intense scrutiny. This Masterminds track will help board secretaries understand how to support their board’s compliance with Sunshine Laws while cross-pollinating your local techniques with those of others across the state.

Game Changers – NEW

You’ve had a great idea, and you are determined to see it through. This is the year you will pursue that high-impact project, and in doing so, you will make a significant mark on your team, community, field, or career. Are you writing a book? Developing a new area of expertise? Pursuing a competitive grant? Solving a culture problem? Opening a school? Overhauling a system? Pursuing a legislative fix? This track will serve as your incubation lab, a space for deep work and confidential consultation with fellow Gamechangers—an oasis amidst the incessant, urgent demands that threaten your ability to dedicate time and attention to your high-priority project. This five-session track will convene on Monday evenings and will run for extended (3-hour sessions) to promote problem-solving and progress on your project into single, maximally productive meeting block. Space in this track is limited and will include optional in-person meeting opportunities at our Boulder, Colorado office.


The Caplan & Earnest Masterminds Program is designed to move each participant toward their short- and long-term professional goals. Each session is facilitated by a Caplan & Earnest attorney and opens with a brief presentation by the attorney to promote members’ familiarity with trending and relevant legal issues.

Then the group begins the masterminding process, a facilitated group discussion centered on your own professional challenges. Masterminds foster one another’s idea-generation, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication strategy. The mutual investment in one another fuels trust, driving the utility and quality of these conversations.


The Masterminds Program is a professional development series running from September through May. Most tracks include 10 virtual one-hour sessions. The Game Changers track is scheduled to runs across 5 three-hour sessions and includes an in-person meeting option.

To promote consistency and connection with your fellow Masterminds, you will be placed (based on your scheduling priorities and area of interest) in a regular timeslot with your assigned group for the year. However, we are committed to accommodating your demanding schedule as best we can. You are always welcome to “guest” in another session when your schedule poses an unavoidable conflict with your assigned group.


Coulter Bump headshot

Coulter Bump

Coulter weaves connections between parties’ commonalities, positions, strategies, and obligations to knit together solutions in policy language and contracts. Her Masterminds become leaders among leaders as they learn to navigate the territory where big picture ideas intersect with the front line, the district’s commitments, and legal jargon.

Kristin Edgar headshot

Kristin Edgar

Kristin shies away from no complicated or heated issue—she dives in right alongside school and district leaders. As your Masterminds host, she will serve as a voice of wisdom and encouragement in the face of the practical and political realities of leading in a school community.
Beth Friel headshot

Beth Friel

Beth is attuned to the nuances and rippling effects of disputes arising between families and school teams. She guides Masterminds to rise above an immediate frustration point, orient their efforts productively, and find their way to solutions that honor the best in everyone involved.
Hope Griffin headshot

Hope Griffin

Hope specializes in finding simplicity within chaos, allowing Masterminds to cut through distraction and to act with clarity and purpose. Her Masterminds amplify their impact month after month as they sharpen their acumen and approach to emerging issues.

Sam Jones-Rogers headshot

Sam Jones-Rogers

Sam makes deep connections between people and between ideas. With experience in public policy and education law, the breadth of Sam’s practice and experience enables her to guide Masterminds in productive conversations with an engaging mix of sophistication and warmth.

The fee for the Masterminds program is $1,500 annually. All Mastermind Tracks meet for ten, one-hour sessions, except for Game Changers, which meets for five, three-hour sessions. Participants or their sponsoring school or district may choose to make a one-time, up-front payment of the full amount or choose to pay in monthly installments (due the first day of each month of the program). Anyone signing up on or before August 1, 2023 will receive an Early Bird Rate of $1,200.

Strictly enforced rules of confidentiality enhance the candor and usefulness of every conversation, and preserve your dignity and reputation, as well as that of the other members. These conversations are confidential, but are not covered by the attorney-client privilege. Confidentiality is enforced through exclusions from the group for breaches of the group’s trust.

Participation in the Masterminds Program does not create an attorney-client relationship with Caplan & Earnest. A host’s presentations do not constitute legal advice, and discussions during monthly meetings are not legal advice and are not protected by the attorney-client privilege.

During the 2023-2024 school year, each group is limited to no more than ten Masterminds. This ensures that you receive the time and attention you deserve as a participating member in Caplan & Earnest’s Masterminds Program.

Licensed school and district administrators are eligible to participate in all tracks.

Board Secretaries and assistants to the superintendent are eligible for the Board Secretaries track.

Attorneys, board members, non-employee parents, and community members are not eligible to participate in Caplan & Earnest’s Masterminds Program during the 2023-2024 school year. Caplan & Earnest Staff will verify the accuracy of registration information and will refund any payments made on behalf of ineligible participants.

Please note that participation in the Masterminds program does not create an attorney-client relationship with Caplan & Earnest. Presentations do not constitute legal advice, and discussions during monthly meetings are not protected by attorney-client privilege.


If you have any questions about the Masterminds program, please email Beth Friel.

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