Bethany Little, the vice-president for policy and advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, will be up the Hill, taking on Carmel Martin's former role as the top education adviser for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
Martin left late last year for the Gates Foundation, but didn't stay there long, as she was Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's pick for assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, a position most recently held by Bill Evers.
Over at the Alliance, Little has focused mostly on high school reform. She's also worked as director of government relations at the Children's Defense Fund. From 2001-2003, she served as a legislative assistant in the office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., working on education, welfare, and children's issues.
And, before that, she was associate director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and served as policy adviser to the President and the Vice President. She also worked on the Clinton/Gore campaign. Little serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence.
She also apparently bested everyone else in Flypaper's Name-the-Education-Secretary contest, causing Mike Petrilli to dub her the Uber-Insider.
That's a very long resume. Little brings a lot of expertise in education redesign, including in teacher quality, high school overhaul, and college readiness, issues that have been getting plenty of attention lately. A lot of folks have been wondering whether committee Chairman Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's declining health might mean that not much more will happen on education legislation this year. The decision to bring Little on could be an indication that the committee is ready to get rolling.