American Federation for Children Elevates New Leadership

On June 1, AFC celebrated the official transition of our new CEO, Tommy Schultz, and COO, Elisa Clements. As well as these leadership changes, AFC is pleased to announce the following staff promotions and additions:
National:
Kelli Bottgerpromoted to Director of Political Strategy
As Louisiana State Director, Kelli brought a wealth of electoral, legislative, and educational leadership experience to the educational choice movement. Kelli will now work closely with state directors on policymaker cultivation, the creation and execution of state-level electoral plans, and AFC’s leadership development strategy.
Nathan Cunneen – Communications Associate
Nathan is a former recipient of the Florida tax-credit scholarship program and member of AFC’s 2020 Future Leaders Fellowship cohort. Nathan works on a wide range of tasks, including managing the Voices for Choice database, drafting and editing various written material, assisting in communications campaigns, and sharing his story in person via public forums. Nathan’s writing has been published in the Washington Examiner, Project Forever Free, and Education Post.
Halli Faulkner – promoted to Senior Director of State and Federal Policy
Halli serves as the AFC’s expert on school choice policy matters, both at the state and federal levels. She provides training and guidance to AFC’s state directors to cultivate high-quality school choice policies. She has also been essential to AFC’s work navigating federal efforts.
Valeria Gurrpromoted to Director of External Relations
Valeria has served as AFC’s Nevada State Director for nearly four years. In that time she earned a reputation as an unstoppable force for families. We are excited to announce that Valeria will be expanding her role within AFC to collaborate more with the national team and state directors to ensure that grassroots activities are oriented toward achieving AFC’s mission and to elevate the voices of families in need of school choice across the country. Valeria will also work to strengthen coalitions with a focus on building support for school choice.
Shaka Mitchell – promoted to Director of State Strategy and Advocacy 
Shaka has served as AFC’s Tennessee State Director for three years. Shaka helps oversee AFC’s state work and leads efforts to streamline AFC’s policy, advocacy, political, and grassroots work, in ways that maximize team effectiveness.
Steve Saxepromoted to General Counsel
Steve has worked at AFC for two years as Director of Compliance and Legal Affairs before being promoted to General Counsel. In that role he brought essential expertise and guidance to all organizational operations.
State Teams:
Paul Dauphin – promoted to Louisiana Director of Operations
Paul joined AFC in 2014 as Louisiana Director of Communications, transitioning to the role of Deputy State Director in 2019. Previously, as president of Pierre Principle Communications, Paul directed messaging for the University of New Orleans’ College of Education and Human Development, when it became the first charter school management organization in Louisiana to assume control of a failing public school in 2004. He also worked with numerous New Orleans charter schools and charter management organizations during a period of dramatic reform and growth following Hurricane Katrina.
Lauren Garcia – Nebraska State Director
Lauren Garcia joins AFC from the Nebraska Catholic Conference, where she served as the Communications and Outreach Specialist. In that role, Lauren worked closely with Invest in Kids Nebraska, a project of AFC, to advance school-choice efforts in the Cornhusker State. Lauren will officially join AFC in July.
Kaleb Moore – Louisiana Director of Government Affairs
Kaleb works to enact and strengthen educational choice in Louisiana. Prior to joining AFC, Kaleb served as the Deputy Director of Grassroots Operations for Americans for Prosperity – Louisiana where he led the statewide grassroots team. Before being named the Deputy Director of Grassroots Operations, Kaleb served as a Grassroots Engagement Director for Americans for Prosperity – Louisiana, responsible for growing one of the largest communities of advocates in Louisiana.
John Patton – Tennessee State Director
John has extensive experience in the world of education, having begun his career teaching and coaching high school in the St. Louis area before earning a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and spending six years working in higher education administration. He is also a founding board member of King’s Academy, an independent Christian school in the Nashville area launching later this year.

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