The American Federation for Children, Arizona Chapter and AFC seeks to empower families, especially lower-income families, with the freedom to choose the best K-12 education for their children. 

In Arizona, AFC works directly with families to help them decide the best education model for their individual child’s needs. 

Our bilingual team of education advocates are available for information at no cost to parents, schools, or community groups about Arizona school choice programs.

Some of the work here at American Federation for Children includes:

To reach a member of our team in Arizona email us at [email protected], text ESA to 73218 or call 
(623) 254-4717.

To view what AFC is doing across the country visit: https://www.federationforchildren.org/

Arizona School Choice for Kids - AFC

I believe every child has unique needs. If they’re in a situation where they are functioning, then that’s fine, but it’s hard on the entire household if their needs are not being met. Whether they’re a typical child or if they have a special need, if the school environment is not fitting them and you’re not getting the best bang for your buck out of the money that the school is spending on your child, then that needs to change.


Call and speak to an AFC Education Advocate

(623) 254-4717

[email protected]


Gaby AFC Arizona School Choice

Community Outreach Manager

Esly AFC Arizona School Choice

Arizona Implementation Director

American Federation for Children Arizona
Esly AFC Arizona School Choice


Arizona Implementation Director

Esly Montenegro serves as the Arizona Implementation Director for the American Federation for Children. Prior to joining AFC, she served in Higher Education recruitment, marketing development, database management, non-profit organization and ministry. She has dedicated her life to serving and empowering thousands of children, teenagers, and adults from low-income families in personal, professional, and educational development.

Today, Esly supports our statewide implementation and government teams with organizing non-public school outreach, coordinating marketing and media, and helping families access high quality schools of their choice. Esly received her Bachelor’s degree in Global Business from Arizona State University and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Argosy University. In her free time, Esly enjoys singing, reading, fitness, and sharing faith and hope with her community.

Gaby AFC Arizona School Choice


Community Outreach Manager

Gaby Ascencio is the Arizona Community Outreach Manager for the American Federation for Children. Gaby’s experience as a Language Teacher, Translator, Interpreter and Advocate for Victims of domestic violence nourish her work at AFC with an intellectual background and sensitivity that have proved to be valuable elements to interact with families, particularly with the Latino community.

Born in Mexico City, at an early age she moved with her parents to Cd Juarez Chih., at the border with El Paso, Texas.  She attended the University of Texas at El Paso where she won a scholarship to continue her studies at The Sorbonne in Paris. Then she moved to Stockholm, Sweden where she worked for two years for the Embassy of Mexico.  Gaby has been a teacher of ESL, Spanish and French as a second and third language for more than 20 years in several countries and prestigious universities in Mexico.

Gaby moved to Arizona in 2011 and worked as a Field Program Manager and Facilitator at Arizona State University’s American Dream Academy, a program where “families gain the tools and confidence to make sure their children have successful academic careers.”  She also worked for two years as an Family Legal Advocate for victims of domestic violence at the National Advocacy and Training Network.

Steve Smith AFC Arizona School Choice


State Director

Steve Smith serves as the Arizona State Director for the American Federation for Children where he works to achieve the best educational options for Arizonan families.

In 2010, Steve was elected as one of the youngest Senators in Arizona’s history and served in the Legislature for 8 years and was the Chairman of the Commerce and Public Safety/Military Committee and a champion for parents, students, teachers, and school choice on the Senate Education Committee.

Notably, Steve sponsored and helped lead the passage of the groundbreaking, first in the nation Empowerment Scholarship Account legislation in Arizona in 2011 which has helped to serve as model in other states.

During his service in the legislature, Steve was ranked #1 on the top legislative scorecards and recipient of the ‘Golden Apple Award’ for championing impactful education policy.  He also was awarded the distinguished Copper Shield for his work for our military, named Guardian of Small Business and ‘Champion of the Taxpayer’, received the lifetime achievement award from the Arizona Police Association, named ‘Friend of the Family’ for his pro-family/religious freedom achievements, was Legislator of the Year for his work for the disabled community, and much more.

Steve graduated with Honors from Michigan State University with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Business Law and his passion for education derives from his wife and family’s combined 100+ years of public school teaching experience.

Steve and his wife Jamie live and raise their 5 children in Arizona.

American Federation for Children Arizona

Thank you for your interest in the AZ Universal ESA & School Choice! Please provide your email to receive a direct ESA application link in your inbox so one of our education advocates can reach out to you with support.