A Hero in School

"When a gunman burst into Sandy Hook Elementary School and started firing, some teachers dived under tables - but the principal and school psychologist never hesitated."

Connecticut school psychologist was problem-solver, "proud parent"

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 9:01 PM EST, Fri December 14, 2012

At home and at work, there was no doubting Mary Sherlach's success.
Professionally, she'd worked in three Connecticut school systems before settling in as school psychologist at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, writing on her website that "I truly enjoy working with the SHS staff, parents and children."
Personally, she'd been married to her husband for more than three decades and, together, they were "proud parents" of two daughters in their late 20s. 
Sherlach, 56, was an expert in psychology, having earned her undergraduate degree in that subject at SUNY Cortland and a master's degree at Southern Connecticut State University.
Before becoming a school psychologist, she worked as a rehabilitation assistant at a psychiatric facility, at a group home for disabled adults and as a community mental health placement specialist.
Her experience in education included stints in the Redding, North Haven and New Haven public school systems before landing at Sandy Hook Elementary in 1994. During her time in Newtown, Sherlach kept busy as a member of numerous groups such as the district conflict resolution committee, safe school climate committee, crisis intervention team and student instructional team... 
On her website, Mary Sherlach wrote:

My husband Bill and I have been married 31 years and are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, ages 25 and 28. My oldest daughter is employed as a High School Chorus Teacher in Southern New Jersey and is living with her husband Eric, who is a sportswriter. My younger daughter is attending Georgetown University full time to achieve a PhD in Chemistry. She is in her fourth year of graduate school and she received a Chemistry fellowship for her work in the area of malaria research. She hopes to work for the government when she completes her degree.

My husband Bill is employed as a Financial Consultant. We enjoy traveling and spending time at our lake home in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. My hobbies include gardening, reading and the theater.

I truely enjoy working with the SHS staff, parents and children and am always ready to assist in problem solving , intervention and prevention.

I have not met Mary Sherlach in person, but her daughter Katy was a student in a graduate course that I taught four years ago.  Katy works with a colleague of mine, Paul Roepe. I was first alerted to the news of the shooting when I saw Paul walking with a tearful Katy in the hallway at about 10 in the morning. The students in the laboratory huddled for hours in a corner lounge of the building, glued to the web, hoping to see or hear news that Mary Sherlach was alright. That specific news never came out, Katy, accompanied by her friends, decided to go home to Connecticut. It was only much later in the afternoon, when I found out from another student, Alex Gorka, that Katy's mother was among the dead. 

Mary Sherlach is a proud parent of an excellent graduate student at Georgetown. And with principal Dawn Hochsprung and the other staff members who sacrificed their lives, she was a hero in school....


The Sherlach family is asking people that wish to make a donation to the Fund for Health & Wellness at the Fairfield County Community Foundation


to honor Katy's mother's memory by continuing her work helping children and those who need mental health care. You can make an online contribution and enter "Mary Sherlach" in the "Gifts in Memory" box.