Board of Directors

President

Julie Schirmer, LCSW
Term ends 2025


Julie Schirmer

Julie Schirmer (She/her/hers) LCSW is a behavioral health and curriculum consultant on a Preventative Medicine Enhancement for Maine (PrevME) HRSA grant with the Maine Medical Center (MMC) Department of Family Medicine. She recently retired from her 20+ year position as a behavioral science faculty at the MMC Family Medicine Residency Program and more recent position as Assistance Director of the Family Medicine Clerkship for Tufts School of Medicine/Maine Track Program.

She has taught, consulted and held academic leadership positions on regional, national and international levels, authoring multiple articles, chapters and an edited book " Behavioral Health is Primary Care: A Global Perspective. Julie has been actively involved with Maine Providers Stand Up for Health Care and believes that by collaborating with other like-minded individuals and policy makers, we can improve the health and well-being of our clients, our communities and ourselves.

She has been a member of NASW for over 40 years and was co-chair of the Committee on Women’s issues for the state prior to the birth of her 35 and 33-year-old daughters.

1st Vice President

Vacant
Term ends 2025

2nd Vice President for Budget and Finance

Moriah Geer (Term ends 2024)

Moriah Geer (she/her/hers) graduated from the University of Maine school of social work in 2020 where she received her MSW along with a certificate in disability studies. As an MSW student, Moriah developed a passion for policy work while a trainee in the LEND program (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) from the University Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. During her MSW program, she went to work for Maine Equal Justice, a nonprofit civil legal aid and economic justice organization. In her role at Maine Equal Justice, Moriah blends Micro and Macro work by advocating for clients’ needs and by advocating for systemic solutions to economic justice issues at the state legislature. Moriah grew up in poverty and has personal experience with Maine’s social safety-net, so she brings the unique perspective that comes from lived experience to her work. She wears multiple hats at MEJ; working directly with clients as the Moxie Case Coach, sharing the organizations experience and expertise as the training coordinator and recently she became the project coordinator of the newly launched Build HOPE project, which provides flexible funds to low-income parents pursuing higher education and training programs. Moriah lives in Old Town where she serves on her local school board. In 2019 she graduated from Emerge, a program that trains and supports democratic women in running for office. Moriah believes that Social Workers are uniquely qualified to serve in public office and is invested in helping social workers find ways to lend their expertise to setting public policy and in supporting them if and when they choose to run for office.


Secretary

Jamie-Lynn Kane (Term ends 2025)

Jamie-Lynn Kane (she/her/hers) received her MSW from the University of Maine in 2022. Currently she works as a clinician at Behavioral Health Center in Bangor and as research associate at the University of Maine, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center in Orono. She has previously served as the MSW Student Representative to the Board of the Maine Chapter of the NASW, and she was also a field placement intern with the Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont chapters. Before pursuing her MSW, Jamie-Lynn worked in a variety of helping roles in Portland, Maine, including as a case manager at several area agencies that served people experiencing homelessness. Jamie-Lynn is committed to being part of the effort to advance social justice and also to protect and promote the social work profession.

Board Members At-Large (Terms end June 2023):

Cyndi Sturm

Cyndi Sturm (she/her/hers) had previously served on the Board as the Branch E Chair. Cyndi is the service supervisor for the counseling and psychotherapy programs at Dirigo Counseling Clinic in Bangor, Maine. She brings a long career of professional clinical practice. Her diverse background includes both outpatient and inpatient treatment of patients who warranted psychotherapy, evaluation, observation, and recommendation. She works with families, children, and adults. Cindy comes with a long list of training and skills that she has practiced since 1998. She is also a NAMI ME member.



Board Members At-Large (Terms end June 2024):

Amy Blake

Amy Blake (she/her/hers) had previously served on the Board as the Branch B Chair. Amy has a private practice specializing in relationship therapy and trauma. She provides training and consultation. Amy coaches clinicians, coaches and presenters on being leaders and having a more powerful voice.



Sharon Fowler

Sharon Fowler (she/her/hers) serves as the Clinical Director at Maine Children’s Home in Waterville, Maine. In her role, she provides clinical direction, supervision and training for the Mental Health policies, procedures, and initiatives for the Programs within the Agency. Programs include: Adoption (Domestic & International); Christmas; Connected Families (Training & Special Projects); and Counseling Center. She is a seasoned professional having worked as a Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Supervisor in mental health and public education settings in her 33 years of practice. Sharon has received clinical training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Triple-P Parenting evidence-based treatment models. She has additional specialized training in Trauma-Informed Schools and Women in Leadership. She is a certified Behavioral Health Professional trainer and has trained extensively on the topic of Trauma and Trauma-Informed Schools. She is a passionate advocate for creating Trauma-Informed Organizations. Sharon also serves as a Member-At-Large for the National Association of Social Workers - Maine Chapter and is the Chair of the NASW - Maine School Social Work Committee. Sharon grew up in Waterville, Maine and received her Bachelor of Social Work Degree from the University of Southern Maine. She traveled to Houston, Texas to study and received her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Houston with a concentration in Children & Families. Her professional work led her to Boston, Massachusetts where she served in leadership positions in residential treatment settings and social service agencies before returning to Maine to raise her children. In Maine, she has been a leader in mental health, home-based treatment, and educational settings where she has been employed.



Kerstin Kirchner

Kerstin Kirchner (she/her/hers) had previously served on the Board as the Branch A Chair. Kerstin graduated in 2022 with her MSW degree from the University of Southern Maine. She had worked at Care Management at Maine Medical Center and Access to Care at MaineHealth before she transitioned to work as an adult case manager at Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH) in Springvale. Kerstin was raised in East Germany, lived eight years in Belgium, and has lived with her family in Southern Maine since 1998. She enjoys hiking, yoga, baking, and reading.



Katie McCoy

Katie McCoy (she/her/hers)

Board Members At-Large (Terms end June 2025):

Katrina Ladd

Katrina Ladd (she/they) is a recent MSW graduate of the University of Maine (Orono) and is in the process of obtaining her LMSW-cc licensure. Katrina lives in Farmington, Maine and recently accepted a position as a social worker for a local middle school day treatment program. Katrina’s passion is working with children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings. In her free time, Katrina loves to watch documentaries, play softball with a local league, spend time with family/friends, and explore Flint Woods.



Lori Pelkey

Lori Pelkey (she/her/hers) received her LPN in 2003 from North Idaho College, her BA in Human Services in 2019 from Southern New Hampshire University, a Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology, and is currently a Master Social Work Student at the University of Maine (Orono) with an anticipated graduation date of 2023. Lori’s final year specialty field internship will be spent with the University’s Center on Aging where she looks forward to learning more about Maine’s aging population. Lori lives in Northern Maine and has the honor of providing care for veterans at a local Veteran’s Affairs Community-based Outpatient Clinic. Time spent on the beaches of Maine is always incredible, however if you are looking for Lori during her free time, she can be found fishing for largemouth bass in the Penobscot River. One fun fact about Lori: She has swum in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on the same day.



Dr. Arabella Perez

Dr. Arabella Perez (she/her/hers) is a professor of social work at the University of New England (UNE) and a teaching scholar on justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom. Prior to joining UNE, Dr. Perez was a system of care director from 2005-2015, leading three Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants for the state of Maine and the founder of a non-profit, THRIVE (a technical assistance center for trauma-informed care). She is a native Spanish speaker and the daughter of parents from Cuba and Puerto Rico born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida.



Kassandra Pierce

Kassandra Pierce (she/her/hers) recently received her MSW from the University of New England along with a Trauma-Informed Care certification. Kassandra has a passion for early childhood education and intervention advocacy. Kassandra also sits on the board of directors for Down Syndrome Awareness Project of Maine (DSAPME). Kassandra lives in Topsham, Maine and enjoys spending weekends hiking with her husband and dog.

Student Representatives (Terms end June 2023):

Sarah Benesi

Sarah Benesi (she/her/hers) is an MSW student at the University of New England. She is excited to join the board as a student representative. Sarah lives in the East End of Portland with her fiancé and a gang of plants she is desperate to keep alive despite the odds (the odds being her history of plant manslaughter). Sarah acknowledges that she is angry with many of the current societal systems — a fact she mentions because women’s anger is often seen as an omen, and she hopes to change perceptions — and she is hungry to repurpose this anger into change. Sarah is passionate about reconstructing our criminal justice system and helping marginalized community members receive equitable footing. When she’s not plotting ways to burn down systems of oppression, she enjoys other activities such as writing, playing board games, and overthinking the latest true crime podcast.



Cynthia Cushing

Cynthia Cushing (she/her/hers) is in her second year of the four-year MSW Program at the University of Maine (Orono). Cynthia dreams of starting a mentoring business which incorporates mentoring for folks from when they are in utero until they are 30 or so, to give all children the best opportunity for success throughout their lives. For the last 11 years Cynthia has worked as a case manager for adults with developmental disabilities and travels the state of Maine to work with many fantastic people who benefit from the assistance of NASW on a regular basis. Last year, she became a Team Leader for a group of Case Managers and assists new and upcoming employees in the field with learning the duties involved with this profession. In this role, Cynthia also provides assistance around the paperwork requirements as well as emotional feedback for this taxing but valuable work. In her free time, Cynthia enjoys photographing birds, dancing at Motor Booty Affair events, hiking, and trips to Baxter State Park.

2022-2023 Student Interns:

Kessie Silas

Kessie Silas (she/her/hers) is an MSW student at the University of Maine (Orono) in her specialization year practicum at NASW Maine. Her social work interests lie in program design and management, policy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Outside of her social work interests, her passions lie in creative expression through her piano, creative writing, and game nights with friends. She looks forward to working with NASW to facilitate positive change for social workers in Maine.



Amber Willett

Amber Willett (she/her/hers) is an MSW student with the University of New England and lives in a small community in rural Maine with her husband, 3 kids, 2 dogs, a tortoise, and a cat. She loves spending time outside and working on projects around the house. Her favorite place to be is anywhere near the ocean. Amber loves going on whale watches and deep-sea fishing. She has always been extremely passionate about advocacy and working in the mental health field. Amber received her Associates Degree from KVCC in 2012 and her bachelor’s degree from UMA in 2020. Her goal is to complete her MSW degree and focus on making a difference wherever she can!

Branches

Branch A 

(York and Cumberland Counties)

Branch B

(Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and Waldo Counties)

Branch C

(Androscoggin, Franklin, Oxford, and Somerset Counties)

Branch D

(Aroostook County)

Branch E

(Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington Counties)