American Federation for Children Announces New Senior Fellows


The American Federation for Children is pleased to announce the elevation of three staff members, all of whom oversee vital aspects of our work, into new roles.

Denisha Allen, Shaka Mitchell, and Valeria Gurr have been named as Senior Fellows, joining Corey DeAngelis in our growing cohort for this important and unique role.

AFC Senior Fellows are individuals who have established themselves as leading advocates in the education reform field and are known throughout the movement for being magnetic leaders and creating new and innovative programs, projects, or tactics that become game-changers in the space. As spokespeople for the movement, Senior Fellows are frequently requested as speakers at events, on panels, by the news media and by elected officials. Senior Fellows have been published across many platforms.

Statement from Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children:

“AFC is proud to continue building out our world-class team that takes on – and defeats – powerful special interests to ensure a quality education for every child. We are thrilled to always be at the frontlines of expanding school choice, and our success is driven by the talented, relentless advocates who are on our team. I couldn’t be more excited to have Denisha, Shaka, and Valeria expand their roles and continue this fight.”

Read more about our Senior Fellows:

Denisha Allen is the founder of Black Minds Matter and previously served as School Choice and Youth Liaison to the Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Denisha is a Florida tax-credit scholarship graduate and now sits on the board of directors for Step Up for Students. Denisha has become a national symbol for school choice, headlining events with elected leaders, including the former president, governors, members of congress, and other advocates for school choice.

Shaka Mitchell began his work with AFC as Tennessee state director before taking on a national role as Director of State Strategy and Advocacy, where he helped oversee our state teams and led efforts to streamline policy, advocacy, political, and grassroots work. He also brings experience from several high-performing charter school networks, including Rocketship Education and LEAD Public schools. He has been published widely and spoken at events across the country and will expand upon this work in his new role. 

Valeria Gurr is a passionate advocate for educational choice who created Federación Americana Para Los Niños, which seeks to bring information about school choice to Hispanic communities. Valeria earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing at Duoc UC of The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in 2009 and a Master of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in 2013. She is a PhD candidate at UNLV and recipient of the Dottie Shank service award.


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