SPeaker INformation

SPeaker INformation

Maria Shermoen

MSW, LGSW , Mental Health Coordinator, ISD 709 Duluth Preschool

Maria Shermoen is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker who has her Master’s Degree in Social Work, and is licensed as a school social worker. Maria has been working with children and families for many years and in a variety of different settings both in and out of schools.

Maria is a mental health coordinator for preschool with Duluth Public Schools. She has worked as an outpatient therapist for individual, family, and youth services, and provided youth counseling for at-risk students in a residential setting.  

Maria is passionate about serving children and families in education and her community. As a mental health provider in education, Maria is dedicated to working with staff to provide the best services and plans of support aligned to the whole child in the school setting. Specialized areas of programming that Maria focuses on are children’s mental health, behaviors, and interventions. 

Maria’s work is grounded in data, student narratives in and out of school, and collaborative data-driven decision making to help formulate individual services, programming, and supports that set students up for optimal growth and success in their academic journey. Maria believes that the vast array of social-emotional and challenging behaviors that can surface in today’s youth are often symptoms of a much more deeply rooted need or problem.  

“Behavior is a form of communication, and as the adults in our profession, it’s our job to ensure the students’ needs are planfully met where they are on any given day. Our role in this process is vital to a child’s safe space and success within their school.”  ~Maria Shermoen

Becky Gamache

Preschool Education Coordinator, Duluth Public Schools

Becky Gamache has her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She has been working with young children and families for the past 28 years.

Becky has been a play advocate for most of her career. She believes play is the best way to support all areas of development and families deserve high-quality, play based experiences for their young children whether or not they are in  private or public programming . Play equity is the driving force behind her work and in the past decade, Becky has focused her advocacy on nature and outdoor play for young children in public school settings.

After 25 years in the classroom, Becky is currently the Education Coordinator for preschool with Duluth Public Schools where she supports educators with curriculum and assessment implementation through staff development and coaching.  In addition to these roles, she has also been a parent educator, college instructor and has conducted countless early childhood trainings, both in-person and virtually throughout the United States.

Session INformation

Session INformation

Live Session: March 16th at 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM CST & 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM CST

Play is not unique to humans. Play is essential to the development and survival of many species. However, we often quell the natural urges of play in children by pushing down academic skills in the early years in the name of “readiness”. This session will focus on the role play has in the development of social, emotional and behavioral wellness. We will discuss how play shapes the brain and how high quality play experiences support all areas of children’s development.