Forte hasn't spent her entire career in education policy, but she has certainly left her mark over the past two decades. In her current role, she is a key adviser to the secretary and directs the department's budget and policy agendas, coordinating with the Office of Management and Budget, the House and Senate Education committees, and state education agencies. It helps that Forte, 48, spent years on Capitol Hill before joining the department. She served first as legislative director for Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and later as director of education policy for the House Education and Labor Committee under then-Chairman George Miller, D-Calif. Forte was born in what was West Germany and went on to major in computer science at Duke University. Nearly a decade later, after switching from the private to the public sector, she got a master's in women's studies at George Washington University. Appropriately enough, she's married to a teacher.