Sherlach earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at SUNY Cortland and a master's degree at Southern Connecticut State University. She worked as a rehabilitation assistant at a group home for disabled adults and as a community mental health placement specialist before becoming a school psychologist.
She worked in three Connecticut school systems before moving to 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.
Sherlach and her husband for more than three decades lived in Trumbull, Connecticut, and, together, they were "proud parents" of two daughters in their late 20s. Her website listed her interests as gardening, reading and going to the theater.
Victoria Soto, 27
Soto, a first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, moved her students away from the classroom door when she heard gunfire, which students initially "thought were hammers falling," according to the father of one of her students.
"That's when the gunman burst in, did not say a word, no facial expressions, and proceeded to shoot their teacher," said Robert Licata, whose 6-year-old son, Aiden, escaped by running past the shooter.
Soto's mother said her daughter was selfless.
"She would not hesitate to think to save anyone else before herself, and especially children. She loved them more than life, and she would definitely put herself in front of them any day," Donna Soto told CNN's Piers Morgan.
Soto had wanted to be a teacher since she was 3 and talked about her students with "such fondness and caring," her mother said.
Soto's cousin, James Wiltsie, said Soto "instinctively went into action, when a monster came into her classroom, and tried to protect the kids that she loved so much."
"We just want the public to know that Vicki was a hero," he said.
Soto had a dog she loved. The black lab Roxie spent Saturday wandering around Soto's apartment, apparently looking for her, relatives said.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Ben loved The Beatles, lighthouses and the No. 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens, his family said in a statement.
He and his older brother Nate "filled the house with the noise of four children."
"Ben Wheeler was an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy whose love of fun and excitement at the wonders of life and the world could rarely be contained. His rush to experience life was headlong, creative and immediate," hsi family said.
Ben loved soccer and swimming. Recently, he performed at a piano recital -- a major feat for a little boy who rarely sat still.
Friday morning before school, he told him mom: "I still want to be an architect, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that's what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does."
Ben, Nate, and their parents, Francine and David Wheeler, moved to Newtown in 2007. Francine Wheeler is a music teacher and performer. David Wheeler is an illustrator and designer.
On Sunday, Francine Wheeler's band posted the following message on its Facebook page: