Gwendolyn Hamilton, the former senior vice president of education reform for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, was recently hired as Mayor-President Kip Holden’s newest staff member.

Holden announced Tuesday afternoon that he hired Hamilton as his new assistant chief administrator, according to a news release.

“We are happy to have someone of Gwen’s caliber, not only for her extensive work experience, but also for her community relationships,” Holden said

Hamilton, a Baton Rouge native and Southern University graduate, worked at BRAC since October 2008.

Before that she was the director of civic leadership initiatives at Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

At BRAF, Hamilton led an effort to revitalize Old South Baton Rouge, and acted as the Foundation’s liaison to the East Baton Rouge Parish school system.

John Spain, BRAF executive vice president, said Hamilton’s experience fighting blight and creating economic development are an asset to the city-parish.

“She’s a great fit,” Spain said. “While I think the chamber will miss her as much as we did, we’ll all benefit from her experience and expertise when she’s in the mayor’s office.”

Hamilton also has a background working in state government.

From November 2001 to January 2004, Hamilton served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Social Services under former Gov. Mike Foster where she was responsible for more than 5,000 employees and a $978.5 million budget.

She served as the deputy education policy adviser and the executive director for the Children Cabinet in the Governor’s Office from 1996 to 2001.

Hamilton also served as a board chairwoman for the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority and was a board member of the Louisiana State Board of Ethics.

Hamilton, who started work June 15, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Hamilton’s annual base salary is $91,699, Human Resources Director Annette Bookter said. Hamilton will also receive $4,800 annually for a car allowance, Bookter said.

Hamilton joins Chief Administrative Officer John Carpenter and Assistant Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel as Holden’s top staff members.

Jim Llorens, another staffer, was recently hired to lead Southern University’s Baton Rouge campus.