join our list
resources + links
community blog
teachable moments


We facilitate an international network of colleagues. These colleagues have collaborated with the Center over the years in developing programs, books, conferences and initiatives. This year of 2013, for example, John Halsey at Flinders University in Adelaide is taking the lead in developing the international dialog on relational learning and leading in Santa Fe, October 3-5. Susan in Santa Fe continues to develop the personal leadership in the multicultural context of New Mexico for participants on the learning journeys. Miguel Acosta Munoz in Talpa, Mexico is forming a network on Educational leadership in the state of Jalisco, Mexico of which CRL is a founding member. Robert Costi and David Rothstadt from Melbourne have been bringing staff members for four years to study a whole school community approach to education and have co-authored a book with George Otero on the subject. Other colleagues have been active in building the center’s programming and helping define relational learning and leadership through papers, workshops and books over the past 16 years. John West-Burnham has been a trusted colleague for 10 years. More colleagues will be added as this work grows!

Susan Chambers-Otero, M’Ed, MA, LPCC

Susan Susan is a therapist in private practice, a CRL consultant, teacher and facilitator. As a co-founder and co-director of the Center for RelationaLearning (CRL), Susan has extensive experience working with teachers, students, administrators, educational leaders and artists in multi-cultural communities with a focus on transformational education. As an approach to school improvement, Susan and Dr. George Otero, developed and implemented the RelationaLearning™ Model. Prior to founding CRL, Susan was co-director of the multicultural learning center, Las Palomas de Taos, at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos, New Mexico. While there, Susan focused on developing and presenting innovative educational programs that expanded people’s understanding of the world, art, culture, and history of the Southwest. As a national and international consultant, Susan has presented throughout the U.S., England, Canada, and Australia to educational and community leaders, assisting them to re-think their role as educators. She has established study tours with educators, community partners and youth to promote cultural exchange and leadership development, and encourage their role as change agents. Susan has a special interest in working with indigenous peoples and rural communities with strong histories and identities. She has worked in collaboration with Dr. George Otero to bring all sectors and ages of a community together to work on their own improvement. See Rural Ed Initiative. She earned her Masters of Education degree from Wake Forest University in North Carolina and a Masters in Counseling at Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM and has a LPCC licensure for psychotherapy. She is co-author of two position papers and the book, RelationaLearning: Education for Mind, Body, and Spirit.

Professor John Halsey

RJH - intro2John is Professor of Rural Education and Communities in the School of Education, Flinders University. He is also a consultant in rural education through the Center for Relationalearning and the Public Education Department, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to joining the School of Education, John was a teacher, a principal of two schools in South Australia- Ceduna Area School and The Heights School (both encompassed reception to year 12, one rural, one metropolitan), Associate Director of the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia, an Executive Director in the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services and a Chief of Staff to a State Minister for Education and Children’s Sevices. He also has experience working as an educational facilities project officer and for the Australian School’s Commission Choice and Diversity in Education initiative. He is the former Executive Officer of the Rural Education Forum Australia. John has extensive experience in community consultation, policy development, decision-making, human resources management and the preparation of submissions for funding and formal enquiries. John has represented Australia at the South Pacific Education Forum.

See John Halsey’s bio from Flinders University

Torres Webb

torreswebbKnown for his work in promoting the power of positive relationships in educating future generations regardless of economic and social circumstance. Securing equity, inclusion and social justice for every person and child in today’s world requires an active partnership for learning across school and community, supporting and guiding educators to understand their purpose and role in new ways.

Torres Webb, a proud Australian far north Queenslander and Indigenous man from the Torres Strait. Is a passionate parent and community engagement advocate in improving the achievement, wellbeing and life chances of all children and youth by focusing on “what’s strong rather than what’s wrong”. He is recognised nationally and internationally for his community engagement and leadership skills.

Having worked with Youth Challenge Australia in Vanuatu, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network in Philippines, Queensland Youth Parliament and with Oxfam International Youth Partnerships in India, Torres has also held a Deputy Chair on position on the Erubam Traditional Land and Sea Owners Native Title Body, where he worked closely with the local rangers and elders. Currently leading an Indigenous STEM Education project in Far North Queensland valuing Indigenous knowledges within the science curriculum. Torres previously worked with the Queensland Department of Education assisting Indigenous communities to connect with their local school to foster identity, culture and learning outcomes for all students. Through a close working partnership with Dr George Otero. Torres is currently editing a book as an associate to the Centre for RelationaLearning titled: “Handbook: connecting school, family and community”.

Contact: torreswebb2@gmail.com or 0497 737 948

John West-Burnham

burnham John West-Burnham works as a teacher, writer and consultant in leadership development. He is Senior Research Adviser at the National College for School Leadership. John worked in schools and adult education for fifteen years before moving into higher education. He was a part-time Open University tutor for 15 years. He has worked at Crewe and Alsager College, the University of Leicester, the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside, the University of Hull and the London Leadership Centre. He was also Development Officer for Teacher Performance for Cheshire LEA. John is author of Managing Quality in Schools, co-author of Personalizing Learning; Making Every Child Matter, Effective Learning in Schools, Leadership and Professional Development in Schools and co-editor of Performance Management in Schools, Educational Leadership and the Community, The Handbook of Educational Leadership and Management plus 12 other books and over 30 articles and chapters. John has worked in Australia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, the Republic of Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and the USA. He is a coordinator of the European School Leadership Project. John is Senior Adviser, Centre for Relational Learning, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Leadership Adviser, Kambrya College, Berwick, Victoria, Australia and consultant to the Leadership Development Schools project, Ministry of Education, Republic of Ireland. He is Honorary Professor of Education at Queens University, Belfast; Honorary Professor at the Centre for Educational Studies, University of Hull; Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Faculty of Education, University of Manchester; Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University; Visiting Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Cyprus and Visiting Professorial Associate at the Regional Training Unit, Northern Ireland. John’s current and writing interests include the learning centred school, transformational leadership, leadership learning and development and educational leadership in the community.


 Miguel Angel Acosta Munoz

acostaMiguel Angel Acosta Munoz was born and raised in Chicago. He moved to New Mexico in 1991 and recently completed a term on the Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools. He has 30 years experience advocating for educational and social justice in poor, working-class and Chicano/Latino communities. Miguel Angel received his BA from the University of Illinois, being the first in his family to attend college, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of New Mexico in Community Development. Miguel Angel’s work includes teaching in alternative high schools, developing and directing youth leadership programs, developing, teaching in and coordinating adult basic education programs, coordinating community health initiatives and recruitment and retention work in higher education. Miguel Angel also has extensive experience in personal and family coaching, violence and substance abuse prevention, community development, community visioning, policy analysis, coalition building, conflict resolution, mediation, cultural competency, civic engagement, service learning, community education, program development, and, most recently, as a public servant and elected School Board Member. His family came out of Jalisco, Mexico, and first migrated to Chicago around 1919. His father, Miguel, participated in the Bracero Program as a farm worker in California and later toiled in a Chicago factory until he could work no longer. His mother, Luz Maria, worked as a seamstress in Chicago as had her mother before her. They are now at peace and together back in Jalisco. Miguel Angel has two sons, Jose Miguel, 18, and Miguel Angel, 24. He also has a beautiful granddaughter, Isabella, who just turned four.

David Rothstadt

photo David Rothstadt works in Victoria, Australia having spent most of his career working with diverse communities. He is currently the Principal of Noble Park Primary School. For some years now the school has worked with George Otero to progress the agenda of building communities to support the learning of students. His school supports students from more than thirty six nationalities which is a challenge he welcomes and creates many opportunities to explore creative responses to the needs of the families. His learning from this partnership with George has manifested itself in the collaborative publication with Robert Csoti and George of ‘Creating Powerful Learning Relationships. A whole School Community Approach’. David is interested in how school communities and local and global organisations can partner to benefit one another, so the broader community can enjoy the reciprocity of supporting its youth. He believes it is important for schools to review how they operate, as being ‘just a school is no longer sufficient’. Schools must see themselves as community organisations. David has progressed this agenda through local conferences and his work in New Mexico.

Robert Csoti

csoti Robert is currently Principal of Elwood Primary School in Melbourne Australia. It is a large Primary of 760 students from prep – grade 6. It is set in Bayside Melbourne in a diverse area that is home to much of Melbourne’s arts community. It is a true community school with extremely high parent and community involvement. Robert has worked in a range of small and large schools as a leader and teacher. Elwood is an innovative Primary school that places learning relationships and community involvement at the forefront to help foster better communities and individuals. He has worked extensively with George, David Rothstadt and Monash University to create true community schools that foster a personalised curriculum for all students. Together with George a David he put together a model that incorporates parent involvement, community partnerships, personalised curriculum and after school enhanced learning to create, “Powerful Learning Relationships.” (Published by Hawker Brownlow). Robert believes that changing the culture of schools requires a new approach to teaching and learning and must challenge mindsets that have traditionally been driven by a compliance paradigm. This must come from school leaders who have the courage to commit to making a real difference to their communities.

Suzanne Cridge Goodwin

Sue Goodwin is a highly experienced and creative educator who is passionately committed to the methodologies of capacity-building in school communities. She utilizes RelationaLearning concepts and capacity-building strategies as a means to promote excellence in education opportunities and outcomes for all students of all backgrounds, particularly those of severe disadvantage. Sue’s extensive educational background includes intensive work with disadvantaged and behaviourally disturbed adolescents and as a volunteer teacher to the United Nations in Asian refugee camps. She also has work published in health curriculum. Sue is currently completing research into the concept of ‘Community Pedagogies in School Curriculum’ as part of her major thesis for a Masters of Educational Research at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. Sue loves the challenge of her work, sharing her experiences and enriching her own learning. Sue is currently an Assistant Principal at Cleeland Secondary College, a vibrant and challenging outer suburban government school in Dandenong, Melbourne, Victoria, one of the most economically and socially disadvantaged urban communities in Australia. Sue was awarded a national ‘Sir Winston Churchill Fellowship’ in education in 2003. The eight week sponsored project was designed to investigate exemplary models of community education across five states in the USA. In her previous role as Assistant Principal at Albert Park College, in a challenging inner city neighbourhood of Melbourne, she was instrumental in designing ‘a whole of community support program’ for youth and children aptly called the ‘Community School Yard’. Her passion is providing equality of access to quality educational opportunities for all young people.