Throughout the book, RISING ABOVE: A Story of Positive School Conflict Resolution, our main character, Monica, references journals and experiences with various school culture experts from across the country. Visit this page to watch the full Zoom interviews with author, JC Pohl, that inspired these entries.


Emil Harker


Emil is an expert in conflict. He has been doing therapy for over 20 years. His passion is about getting through the fluffy stuff to the real nuts and bolts that help people deal with inevitable conflict with confidence. He has been on KUTV Channel 2 Fresh living program for over 10 years. He is a frequent expert guest on several podcasts, radio and tv programs. He has been a wilderness therapist, RTC therapist, parent trainer, and marriage therapist. His clients include professional athletes in the NBA, UFC, and NFL. He has his own podcast called The Emil Show. His book You Can Turn Conflict Into Closeness has been well received by professional therapists and couples alike. His new book Confidence In Conflict is used in fortune 500 companies helping them turn breakdowns into breakthroughs in business. Find out more about Emil at

Dr. Pete Getz

Valencia High School Principal

Dr. Pete Getz has a doctoral degree in Educational Administration with an emphasis on teacher leadership and program development. With over 25 years of experience working in public education, Dr. Getz has extensive familiarity with the comprehensive school setting and unique alternative education background. Dr. Getz specializes in student and staff wellness through research-based practices and an equitable, administrative school approach. He is currently serving as the principal of Valencia High School in Valencia, CA.  

Dr. Stephanie Eberts

Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at LSU

Stephanie Eberts, Ph.D, LPC, is currently an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Louisiana State University and the coordinator of the school counseling track of the counselor education program. She has been training students to work as both school and clinical mental health counselors since 2010. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Eberts worked as a school counselor in New Orleans as well as a counselor educator at Texas State University. Dr. Eberts is committed to students, both her current students and the PK-12 students with whom they work.

Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick

School Board President for Dripping Springs ISD

Mary Jane Hetrick, Ph.D., has a doctorate in public policy and public administration from Auburn University. She taught graduate-level classes for over a decade, both in the classroom and online. Dr. Hetrick has dedicated immense time to public education, including serving on a local board of trustees, a statewide organization serving local school boards, and a local education foundation. She is currently sitting as the School Board President for Dripping Springs ISD and serves as a board member for the Texas School Boards Association.

Adam Lustig

Director for Leadership Services & Training for the National School Boards Association (NSBA)

Adam Lustig is currently the Director for Leadership Services & Training at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) where he works to promote positive and safe learning environments for all students while addressing historical inequities and providing training, support and directives to help support all students throughout our nation’s public schools. Adam has also worked in New York City and Washington, DC Public Schools as a teacher, coach, school administrator, and central office manager overseeing school safety, climate and culture, social emotional learning, restorative justice and bullying prevention. His work focuses on ensuring that schools actively build positive communities, fostering academic, behavioral, and social/emotional growth and resolution.

Tamara Gives

Granite Bay High School Activities Director

Tamara Givens has been teaching high school since 1989, starting out as an English Teacher and Yearbook Adviser.  In 1996, she made the move to help open Granite Bay High School and in 1999 accepted the position of Activities Director, which she has held since then.  She has been a district Teacher of the Year recipient, and has been active in the California Association of Directors of Activities for over two decades, serving for 10 years on the Area A Council.

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