From School Culture Expert JC Pohl

Rising Above: A Story of Positive School Conflict Resolution

Transform your school’s culture for the better

Transform your school’s culture for the better

In Rising Above, we meet Serenity Springs High School’s new school counselor Monica Sheppard as she is fielding a barrage of school conflict issues coming at her from what seems like every direction. Backed by a team of veteran school culture experts from different facets of education, author JC Pohl delivers an engaging, ripped-from-the-headlines narrative about a fictional school community devolving into chaos. With social media running out of control, teachers feeling burnt out, and a principal that has simply lost her way, Monica immerses herself into the school community and strives to bridge many of the divides that define contemporary school environments across the United States.

The book includes insights from real-world experts, including Principal Dr. Pete Getz, relationship expert Emil Harker, LMFT, and school counselor educator Dr. Stephanie Eberts. It also offers:

  • A comprehensive set of strategies and tools to help cure the ailments destroying school culture
  • Insightful discussions of teacher-student, teacher-teacher, teacher-administration, teacher-parent, teacher-staff, and student-student conflict management and resolution
  • A compelling narrative of a school leader rising above the chaos that surrounds her and showing readers a tangible pathway that leads to positive school conflict resolution

An engrossing and essential read for principals, assistant principals, school counselors, and other district administrators, Rising Above also proves invaluable to K-12 teachers and higher education professors with an interest in building exemplary school cultures.




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“JC Pohl has a vantage point very few individuals will ever experience. Visiting thousands of school systems, staff, students, and communities all over the country provides Pohl with a view of the diverse quilt that is our educational system. Every educator will want to read the stories and life experiences Pohl has included in this book as you discover one gem after another of deep insight. A great resource to better understand the human side of education.”

Raúl Gastón, President

Illinois Principals Association

“The salvation of public education is rooted in all stakeholders realizing we are on the same team. JC Pohl provides an insightful incorporation of key culture tenets, based on today’s realities, in a refreshing, hopeful, urgently needed playbook.”

Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick, School Board President

Dripping Springs ISD

“As an education leader, I have learned that maintaining a safe and student-centered environment can be accomplished simply by calming school conflict. JC Pohl has delivered a book that not only helps to give school leaders strategies to minimize conflict but also provides a tool that can be used to engage this issue with my staff and campus community. JC’s story-driven approach is refreshing, applicable, and uniquely different from most school culture books I have read.”

Dr. Pete M. Getz, Principal

Valencia High School



JC Pohl is an award-winning producer, nationally recognized speaker, and certified counselor who has reached more than 11 million people in 7,000+ schools. He has produced groundbreaking programs such as TEEN TRUTH and RISING UP, and award-winning content for companies such as Warner Brothers, ESPN, and Disney. He has also provided innovative educational content for The American Film Institute and Human Relations Media.

His school culture work with TEEN TRUTH has sent him around the world, inspiring students, educators, and parents to tell hard truths and be the difference. During his career, Pohl has been featured on news programs, podcasts, and has received front-page coverage on USA Today and Yahoo! Sports. He has personally reached students in every type of school and keynoted conferences for CADA, TASC, TASSP, DECA, AASSP, NHASP, PA Principals, CHSAA, KASA, MSAA, NAWD, NASSCED, COSA, OASC, LEAD, NCSA, GAEL, OSTI-CON, BOOST, Texas School Safety Center, and the PTA. Additionally, he has served as an educational consultant for brands such as Six Flags, Lifetouch, Union Pacific, Special Olympics, The Miami Dolphins, The Baltimore Ravens, and FIVE STAR.

To complement TEEN TRUTH, he also developed RISING UP, an SEL curriculum designed to teach students to build resiliency in the face of adversity. Launched in 2013, Pohl’s RISING UP: Coaching Program has reached students across the country and consists of a peer-to-peer curriculum used by school counselors, the Texas Department of State Health Services, 21st Century ACE Centers, and Communities in Schools.

Pohl is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Texas and is the author of Building School Culture From the Inside Out, Building Resilient Students From the Inside Out, Building Campus Relationships From the Inside Out, and RISING ABOVE: A Story of Positive School Conflict Resolution. He holds a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from Texas State University, San Marcos, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing from Santa Clara University. You can find him on Facebook and LinkedIn or connect directly at


America has reached an interesting inflection point. It feels like we’re all being pulled toward insanity by one side and fits of rage on the other. The crack in the middle (where most Americans want to live) continues to grow deeper and deeper. Every day interactions with human beings in our communities are not nearly as crazy as the mean streets of social media or the primetime hour of your favorite cable news network. With school board meetings exploding over various mandates, students taking the brunt from the fallout of community chaos, and staff members feeling more overwhelmed and under-appreciated than ever, the topic of school conflict has never been more relevant or more needed. RISING ABOVE will provides a pathway forward for success. A calling for solidarity and a battle plan for every passionate school leader to follow as they head out to soothe and cure the ailments destroying their school culture.

Overview & Topics

Infused with interactive and informative story telling RISING ABOVE works to teach readers positive school conflict resolution strategies. While most books rely on expert driven voices to illustrate stories and teach needed skills, RISING ABOVE uses traditional storytelling as we follow a fictional school counselor named Monica Sheppard. During our time with her we will learn and see how Monica confronts and resolves different types of school conflict on her campus. Some examples are included below.

Teacher to Student

Meet classroom teacher, Betty as she works to contain and teach Tony, a high school student with strong opinions and difficult outbursts. In a situation all too common for today’s classrooms, Monica has to work with Betty to find redeeming qualities in Tony, while also helping Tony find the proper on-campus opportunities where he can thrive.

Student to Student

Sandra and Maya were good friends, but a misunderstanding and a social media blow up send their relationship in a negative direction. Knowing that each student has a lot of offer her school campus, Monica works to re-connect the girls, help them work through their misunderstandings, and get better connected on campus.

Teacher to Teacher

Election year chaos has pitted two long time teachers against each other. In what used to be a friendly relationship, disconnection and insults define the current connection between veteran teachers, Cara and Frank. Thrust into the middle of awkward political conversations Monica has to work to not only understand both view points, but also reconnect these two teachers… As human beings!

Teacher to Administrator

Mrs. Diane Flynn has been teaching for a long time, and quite frankly she is sick and tired of all the B.S. In an effort to implement knew curriculum, not only does Monica have to find a way to connect with Mrs. Flynn, but she also has to find a way to help her rediscover her “why” and reignite her passion for molding young minds.

Teacher to Parent

Dale is a teacher who cares deeply about his students and also doesn’t mind putting in the extra effort to help lead their fundraising campaigns. Taking some blowback over his most recent fundraiser, Dale learns how to confront and work with GOLFMAST3R_DAD3288, a school parent whose social media posts are pretty aggressive and derogatory towards Dale’s efforts to help his school.



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