Board of Directors

President

Julie Schirmer
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

Cynthia Cushing

Term ends 2025

Cynthia Cushing (she/her/hers) is a Community Case Management Team Leader with Summit Support Services and has worked as a case manager assisting adults with developmental disabilities for the last 12 years. Cynthia assists new and upcoming case managers with learning the duties required for this valued profession, including assistance with paperwork requirements, as well as emotional feedback.

Cynthia is pursuing her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Maine and looks forward to becoming a licensed clinician once she completes her program. She is working to start a business which incorporates mentoring for folks from when they are in utero, and for as many years as needed afterwards, as a way to give all children, young adults, and adults the best opportunity for success throughout their lives. The opioid crisis, and the number of young adults dying of drug overdose, promoted this vision. The concept behind this business is to combine mentoring efforts already in place and make them more accessible for people at any age.

Cynthia received her certification as a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2010 and has been a certified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) trainer since that time as well. She also has experience working as a reporter and editor for the Kennebec Journal, a career which began following her graduation from the University of Maine at Orono in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

In her free time Cynthia enjoys photographing birds, dancing at Motor Booty events, hiking, and trips to Baxter State Park.

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 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 Chair for the NASW Maine School Social Work Committee. She is employed as a School Social Worker at Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta, Maine. She is a seasoned professional having worked as a Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Supervisor in mental health and public education settings in her 34 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 building 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 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) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience in the field. She started her Social Work career as a case manager working with adolescents who were in high-level crisis and/or homeless. While being a case manager, Katie became allied with the juvenile justice system and worked closely with the juvenile drug court and several prominent judges. After her work as a case manager, Katie became the Director of Mental Health Services at the local YWCA. She oversaw the clinical work done in various programs including individual treatment for homeless and transitioning youth, she created a case management program for adolescents and adults, managed the clinical aspect of a housing unit for pregnant and parenting teens and their partners, and started an adult education program.

In 2005 Katie started her own private practice in Portland counseling adolescents, young adults, and couples. She specializes in anger management, eating disorders, and personalities disorders. Katie started teaching at the college level in 2005 at Southern Maine Community College where she taught Social Science and Human service Classes. In 2016 Katie joined the adjunct faculty at Simmons Graduate School of Social Work where she has taught HBSE, Groups, Family Relations and Practice I & II. She has been the course lead for both HBSE and Groups. After having taught at UNH as an Adjunct faculty in 2019, Katie Joined the faculty at UNH as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work in August of 2020. She has been on the board of the NASW since 2021.

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.


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.



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.

2022-2023 Student Interns:

Megan Hartman

Megan Hartman (she/her/hers) is a second-year student in the four-year MSW program at UMaine. Among her areas of interest are social worker burnout; how structuration theory can be applied to inform real-world personal, institutional, and social change; the interplay of power, culture, and policy; and how these topics influence one another. When she’s not nestled in at home with her schoolwork, word puzzles, and feline sidekick, Wallaby, she likes to pull out her trusty Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and explore back roads and small towns in her EV, check out new or favorite nature walks, and poke around in vintage furniture and curio shops.   



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)