Our Team

The EI-ME team includes parents and professionals from Maine who share a passion for helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing in reaching their highest potential.

Karen Hopkins

Karen is the Executive Director at the Maine Education Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She brings over 28 years of experience as a collaborative teacher of the deaf, special educator, early interventionist and educational administrator to the team. Karen has lived experience as a person who is Deaf and the parent of a daughter who is hard of hearing.

Email me:
karen@earliestinteractions.com

Katherine Duncan

Katherine Duncan obtained her doctorate of audiology (Au.D.) from The Ohio State University. She is an educational audiologist at the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Falmouth, Maine where she supports outreach programs for both the birth to five and K-12 populations. Katherine is the Audiology Consultant for the Maine Newborn Hearing Program, and she serves on the Maine Newborn Hearing Program Advisory Board and Maine’s Kindergarten Readiness for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Taskforce.

Email me: 
katherine@earliestinteractions.com

Darlene Freeman

Darlene Freeman is the mother of 5 children, the youngest of whom is hard of hearing. She is on the Maine Hands & Voices board in the role of treasurer and is a Parent Guide and ASTra Advocate for her chapter. Darlene works as the QI specialist for this HRSA grant as a contractor with the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She enjoys helping parents with children who are deaf or hard of hearing become strong advocates for their children and watching the families she supports grow their support systems so they never feel alone on their journey with their children.

Email me:
darlene@earliestinteractions.com

Dixie Herweh

Dixie is the Parent Consultant with the Maine Newborn Hearing Program who holds a Master’s Degree in Public School Administration and a BS. in Elementary School Education. She has over 18 years of experience working with children of all ages in both classroom and recreational capacities serving as an elementary school teacher, camp counselor and camp director. Dixie’s passion for working with families of children with hearing loss stems from her own experiences as a parent and advocate for her 13 year old daughter who was diagnosed with hearing loss at age 3.

Email me: 
parentconsultantmnhp@gmail.com

Holly Richards

Holly is the Screening and Follow-up Program Manager for the Maine CDC, Children with Special Health Needs Program. Holly brings over nineteen years of experience in public health, sixteen of those years working in chronic disease and the past three years having been in Children with Special Health needs, overseeing Newborn Bloodspot, Hearing and Genetics.

Email me: 
holly.richards@maine.gov

Anne Banger

Anne is the Coordinator of the Maine Newborn Hearing Program at the Maine CDC.  Anne was a civil engineer and project manager in New York, New Mexico and Maine for more than 20 years before changing her career path.  She has more than 25 years of personal experience as the parent of a grown son who is deaf.

Email me:
anne.banger@maine.gov

Jamie Michaud

Jamie is the Part C State Coordinator for Child Development Services (CDS). She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education and, more recently, earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in Early Intervention from the University of Maine. Jamie is highly invested in ensuring that infants/toddlers and their families receive compassionate and helpful support and, if eligible, high quality, evidence-based Early Intervention Services.

Email me:
jamie.michaud@maine.gov

Josh McGrath

Josh is our Communication Specialist, meaning he helps
the team design print collateral, build social media posts,
and develop this website. As a web designer and developer
Josh has been helping Mainers with their technology needs
for over ten years. Josh believes technology should be fun
and accessible, but most importantly it should be useful.
In that spirit, he’s excited to help the Earliest Interactions
team serve the needs of parents and
professionals around the state.


Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean.

Ryunosuke Satoro


About Us

Earliest Interactions is a Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing HRSA grant-funded program which supports families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing throughout their journeys, from screening, to diagnosis, to early intervention and beyond.

Earliest Interactions

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