About Real Life ALC Tampa


Real Life ALC Tampa is a culmination of two dreams. Elizabeth Mahaney and Susan Embury both desired to create a space where children are free to learn without judgment or coercion, at their own pace, while being encouraged in their individual endeavors. Liz created Real Life, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to open learning to foster her dream, and Susan joined the board in 2014. In 2016, Susan was introduced to the Agile Learning Centers via a dear friend, and she showed the model to Liz. The philosophy matched our dreams, so here we are!


Elizabeth Mahaney

Founder, Chief Administrator

• Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) with a specialty in marriage, parenting, children and couples. www.SouthTampaTherapy.com

• Mental Health Counseling & Marriage and Family Therapy.

• Degree in Psychology from The University of South Florida.

• Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator from The University of South Florida.

• University of Tampa marketing, athletics and personal growth.

• Clinical Consultant at WAM.

• Cognitive Behavior Therapist (CBT) for various issues including chronic pain & fibromyalgia.

• Certified as a Master Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner among other therapeutic applications.

• Ph.D in C.h.

• National Certified Counselor (NCC).

• Level 1 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

•State Approved Clinical Supervisor for B.A. and M.A. Interns and Practicum/ Field Study Students.

• The SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach: Feeding/Eating assessing development, learning/behavior, cognition, nutrition and environment.

• Cognitive Behavioral Holistic Health Coach focusing on lifestyle/wellness, psychology of eating.

• President and Director of The Missing Piece of Counseling and Well-Being, Inc. A non-profit organization.

•Founder/President of Real Life, inc. Where Real Learning Is Found Everywhere

• Experience working with several various clients and organizations;

*Private Practice.

*Success for Kids and Families Inc. – a community wrap-around strength based program.

*Kathy’s Place- a center for grieving children and families leading both adult and children’s groups.

*The Children’s Cancer Center bereavement and oncology support team.

*Board of The Tampa Bay Association for Psychotherapists and affiliated with several professional organizations.

*Member of Chi Sigma IOTA- International Counseling Academic & Professional Honor Society.

•  Lifelong Learner!


Susan Embury

Founder, Co-Administrator 

After traveling the world as an entertainer, Susan Embury received her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. She received her MS in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from The London School of Economics. A staunch social justice activist, Susan helped to found and run a nonprofit for marginalized communities in the informal sector, for which her duties included rallying diverse populations to a common cause and planning and executing conferences for several hundred people. She supplemented her income during that time by doing graphic and web design. In 2009, she gave birth to a beautiful boy and decided to step down from her nonprofit work and social justice activism. Susan is currently a stay-at-home mom, and her social justice activist background combined with motherhood has fostered her interest in attachment parenting and alternative education. She is currently a member of several homeschooling/unschooling groups, and has started her own group along the same lines.

• Lifelong Learner!


Eric ”Bear” Ludwig

Founding Facilitator 

Bear started and ran the first ALC homeschool community within the Quaker Intentional Village in Upstate New York. Recently, he’s traveled the world expanding the ALC Network, designs and facilitated ALC Trainings, and expanded the ALC Network internationally. He is our current facilitator!


Marvin Scaff


30+ years in software development building patented 1.0 products for companies such as Apple, Visa, and PayByTouch. 

• Dad, husband, entrepreneur, technologist, cycling enthusiast. CTO / Co-Founder

• Lifelong Learner!