About the DALE Foundation

Our mission and history

We are the Dental Advancement through Learning and Education (DALE) Foundation. The DALE Foundation was founded by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) in 2010 to develop quality education and conduct sound research to promote oral health. We offer interactive online educational courses and resources to advance the dental team and help dental assistants prepare for DANB exams.

Our commitment to excellence

Whether you’re looking to further your career, supplement coursework, or help your practice meet its goals, the DALE Foundation has the perfect courses and educational resources for you. Everything in our course catalog is created by educators and experts to give you the skills and knowledge you need to continue to grow in your field. And because we are the only DANB-affiliated organization, you also can feel good knowing our courses adhere to the same quality and high standards.

The DALE Foundation is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider and an AGD PACE Program Provider. We’ve also developed many of our courses with several leading organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Association of Dental Office Management, and Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention.

Board of Trustees

Guinevere Juckett

President: Guinevere Juckett

Guinevere B. Juckett, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDIPC, EFDA, FADAA, FAADOM, started her dental career in 1990 and has had a passion for dentistry ever since. Ms. Juckett works for a private dental practice in Middlefield, Ohio, as an expanded function dental auxiliary (EFDA) and dental office manager. Ms. Juckett has been a DALE Foundation Board Trustee since 2016. 

Ms. Juckett earned DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 1996 and also holds Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) and Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) certifications. She is trained in CAD/CAM dentistry and has achieved both levels 1 and 2 CEREC Design Assistant certificates through the Great Lakes Education Center in Detroit, Michigan. She is also a certificate holder in dental infection prevention and control from the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and the DALE Foundation, and in December 2021, she earned Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification, developed by DANB in collaboration with OSAP.

Ms. Juckett is a member of the Ohio EFDA Association, American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), and OSAP. She is a graduate of the EFDA program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and is registered as an EFDA in the state of Ohio. She is a believer in lifelong learning and has completed her clinical fellowship with ADAA and her practice management fellowship with AADOM.

Lori Gagliardi

Immediate Past President: Lori Gagliardi

Lori Gagliardi, CDA, FADAA, RDA, RDH, Ed.D., has been an educator in both dental assisting and dental hygiene for over 30 years and in the field of dentistry since 1977. She is retired and recently was granted the faculty rank of Professor Emeritus with Pasadena City College. She spent 30 years at Pasadena City College serving in a variety of positions, including as the Dental Assisting Program Director for 15 years.

Dr. Gagliardi served for many years on the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), as chair and commissioner for CODA’s Dental Assisting Education Review Committee and site visitor. She is an author of the textbook, Dental Health Education, Lesson Planning and Implementation, now in its third edition, and a contributor to other textbooks, articles and publications.

Dr. Gagliardi is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association; past president and current member of the California Dental Hygienists Association; past president and current member of the California Association for Dental Assisting Teachers (CADAT); and a member of the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. Additionally, she participates as a subject-matter expert on topics related to dental health and dental assisting education program. She holds a doctorate in education and organizational leadership and a master’s in education with special emphasis on dental health education from the University of La Verne in California. She studied dental hygiene at the University of Southern California, and dental assisting at Pasadena City College.

Michael Conte

President-Elect: Michael Conte

Michael Conte, D.M.D., M.P.H., is currently a Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and the Senior Associate Dean for the Office of Clinical Affairs at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, where he also serves as the Medical Director and the Director of Infection Control and Environmental Safety. Additionally, Dr. Conte serves and chairs many committees and is involved in the oversight of the dental school’s extramural programs and facilities administration.

In addition to his academic work, Dr. Conte is a consultant to the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry and the Commission on Dental Competency Assessments. He is also on the advisory board for a local Newark public school and has served as a Commission on Dental Accreditation site visitor.

Dr. Conte is active in numerous associations, including the ADA and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists. He is a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now known as the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine) and has completed additional post-graduate training, including an Advanced Education in General Dentistry program and the American Dental Education Association’s Leadership Institute.

Vicki Brett

Secretary-Treasurer: Vicki Brett

Vicki L. Brett, CDA, RDH, B.S.D.H., is the Preventive Dental Service Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health. Previously, Ms. Brett worked as Campus Director of Academic Affairs with ECPI University, where she was employed for approximately 14 years. She also worked in numerous aspects of dentistry, including serving as a dental hygienist, dental sales representative, and dental assisting program director and instructor.

In addition to her passion for education, volunteering has long been a labor of love for Ms. Brett. She is currently serving as the dental project chair of Montero Medical Missions, providing free dental visits to veterans and through missions abroad. She is a board member for safety net, Park Place Dental Clinic. Ms. Brett also has been a Mission of Mercy volunteer chairperson since 2014.

Ms. Brett has received a Community of Excellence Award from ECPI University, completed the ECPI University Leadership Institute, and served on the Regulatory-Legislative Committee DAI and DAII for the Virginia Board of Dentistry. She is an active member of the American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and Tidewater Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Ms. Brett earned DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 2011. Additionally, she received a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia. Ms. Brett also holds a certificate in dental assisting from ODU and an Associate of Science from Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Opal Anderson

Opal Anderson

Opal Anderson, DISIPC, FAADOM, of Simpsonville, South Carolina, is the Chief Operating Officer for Dental Acquisition Group. Previously, she was a dental consultant with the Opal Group of Ohio, which she launched in 2010 to assist offices with transitions, compliance, training and more. She has approximately 20 years of experience in dental office management.

From 2011–2017, she served as regional manager of Raiffe Dental in Ohio, a role she acquired after she spent time working with the practice as a consultant. In this position, she transitioned and grew seven dental practices. Ms. Anderson enjoys working with dentists and their staffs to transition dental practices to new owners and is very passionate about the dental field.

Ms. Anderson is a member of the American Association of Dental Office Management and earned Fellowship in 2016. She became a Certified Dentrix Trainer with Henry Schein Practice Solutions in 2015 and received an Ohio state radiology certificate in 2011.

Lois Bell

Lois Bell

Lois Bell, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDIPC, MADAA, retired in August 2021 from dental assisting after being a practicing dental assistant for over 40 years. During her career, she worked in a variety of settings, including both large and small private practices, as well as in clinics for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Bell earned DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 2003, followed by DANB Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) in 2010 and DANB Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) certification in 2013. In December 2021, she earned Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification, developed by DANB in collaboration with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. Most recently, Ms. Bell worked as a dental assistant at the VA Greenville Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina.

In addition to her chairside dental assisting work, Ms. Bell has been an active member of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) at state and national levels since 1996. She served as ADAA secretary from 2012 to 2013, and is currently serving on the ADAA’s Council on Education and Council on Mastership/Fellowship.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Department of Veterans Affairs Hands and Heart award and the Unsung Hero award, as well as multiple awards from the South Carolina Dental Assistants Association.

Stephanie Bustos

Stephanie Bustos

Stephanie Bustos, CDA, RDA, of New Milford, New Jersey, joins the Board as a Leader-in-Training. She is the Lead Dental Assistant and Clinical Manager for Edgemont Dental Arts in Montclair. Mrs. Bustos holds a certificate in dental assisting from Fortis Institute in Wayne, New Jersey. Through this program, she completed her internship and externship, graduating in April 2021 and earning dean’s list recognition. Mrs. Bustos holds DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification and is a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) in the state of New Jersey. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention.

Joanne Dawley

Joanne Dawley

Joanne Dawley, D.D.S., is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and currently runs her own practice in Michigan. She has been an active member of the American Dental Association at the national, state and local levels for nearly 25 years. Dr. Dawley is a former member of the ADA’s Council on Dental Practice. She has served as a delegate or alternate delegate to the ADA House of Delegates since 2000, and in 2009 she chaired an ADA Reference Committee. After holding numerous leadership positions at the state and local levels, Dr. Dawley was elected President of the Michigan Dental Association (MDA) in 2008.

The recipient of numerous honors, Dr. Dawley has been recognized with the Detroit District Dental Society’s 2008 Leadership and Service Award, the National Dental Association’s 2008 Phenomenal Achievement Leadership Award and the Mercy Education Project’s 2008 Positive Impact Hard Work Dedication Award.

Dr. Dawley is a member of the National Dental Association, the Wolverine Dental Society, the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. She also belongs to several honor societies for dentists, including the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists and she is a member and Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry.

Sandra Garcia

Sandra Garcia

Sandra Garcia, CDA, CDIPC, RDA, FADAA, FAADOM, of San Antonio, Texas, currently works as the Practice Administrator for CentroMed, one of Texas’s largest nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Centers. She has over 20 years of clinical experience and has worked in variety of specialties.

From 2006–2011, Ms. Garcia was the Dental Assisting Program Director at the Academy of Health Care Professions in San Antonio, Texas, where more than 300 students graduated from the dental assisting program during her tenure.

Ms. Garcia entered the Air Force in 1996 and completed the Dental Assistant Apprentice course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. She has also completed college coursework at Wayland Baptist University in San Antonio. From 2000–2006, Ms. Garcia served as a chairside assistant and worked with third-year dental students on four-handed dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Dentistry, San Antonio. She earned the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) credential in 2008, and DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 2010.

In July 2019, Ms. Garcia was issued Fellowship in the American Association of Dental Office Management (AADOM), and in March 2020, she earned the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate. In December 2021, Ms. Garcia earned Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification, developed by DANB in collaboration with Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). She served on the DANB Board of Directors from 2015–2021.

Ms. Garcia is a recipient of the Air Force Achievement Medal and was recognized as the 2015 Employee of the Quarter in the management category at CentroMed. She is a lifetime member of AADOM, as well as an active member of the American Dental Assistants Association, OSAP, the National Network for Oral Health Access, and the Hispanic Dental Association.

Carlos Gaxiola

Carlos Gaxiola

Carlos Gaxiola, CDIPC, RDA, RDHAP, RDH, joins the Board as a Leader-in-Training. He has more than 15 years of experience in the dental field. He began his career as a dental assistant in a community health center working with underserved communities in California’s Central Coast. His passion for dentistry and serving others encouraged him to pursue a degree in dental hygiene.

Mr. Gaxiola has been the Clinical Operations/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Manager at Kids Dental Brands in Scottsdale, Arizona, since January 2020. In this role, he performs compliance audits of clinical sites, among other duties. He continues to practice clinical dental hygiene part-time.

Mr. Gaxiola earned DANB’s Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification in May 2022, and he is a member of the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP).

Royann Royer

Royann Royer

Royann Royer, CDA, RDH, M.P.H., is the Founder and Director of Healthy Smiles Forever, a nonprofit organization providing dental treatment for long-term-care residents in the Anchorage, Alaska, area since 2016.

She was the Founder of the Dental Assisting Program of Southcentral Foundation on the Alaska Native Medical Center Campus, serving as Director for 25 years. The program was CODA-accredited as an off-campus site of Salish Kootenai College in Montana for five years. Ms. Royer also served as a faculty member in the dental hygiene program at the University of Alaska Anchorage for over 20 years, and is still active in the program, serving as a guest speaker, continuing education course provider, and member of the selection committee for hygiene students.

Ms. Royer has worked in clinical practice her entire career, which she began as a clinical dental assistant after obtaining her certificate at Spokane Community College and earning DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification. She continues to work clinically as an expanded functions dental hygienist at the long-term-care clinics.

Ms. Royer has spent many years developing educational resources, such as authoring textbooks and developing videos, as well as contributing to public health initiatives. She has helped bring dental services and education to a variety of international clinics, including in Russia, Mexico and Nepal. Over the span of 20 years, she also served as an examiner and Chair of several committees for the Western Regional Examining Board.

She is a member of numerous organizations, including the American Dental Hygienists Association, International Federation of Dental Hygienists and Health Volunteers Overseas.

Ms. Royer holds a Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University, a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Washington University and an Associate of Dental Hygiene from Clark College; she also studied dental assisting and expanded functions at Spokane Community College. She currently holds DANB’s CDA certification and is a registered dental hygienist in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

Kathy Zwieg

Kathy Zwieg

Kathy Zwieg, CDA, CDIPC, LDA, is a consultant focusing on the implementation of technology and operations initiatives within dental practices and organizations. Previously, she served as Editor-in-Chief of Inside Dental Assisting magazine and has also held numerous roles within dental practices, including director of professional relations and operations manager. She began her career as a chairside dental assistant and dental assisting instructor.

Ms. Zwieg’s professional affiliations include the American Association of Dental Office Management; the American Dental Assistants Association; and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP). In December 2021, she earned Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification, developed by DANB in collaboration with OSAP. She has held DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification since 1978.

In 2010, she was appointed to the Minnesota Department of Health’s e-Health Advisory Committee as clinic manager representative, and has served on its communications and outreach and workforce development workgroups. In 2014, she was a recipient of its Distinguished Service Award. Ms. Zwieg has also served as board chair of Oral Health America and president of the American Dental Assistants Association.

Ms. Zwieg’s alma maters include the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota; and Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Ms. Zwieg is an author and contributor to dental assisting textbooks and magazines, among other publications. An avid volunteer, she believes everyone should give back to their profession.

Laura Skarnulis

Laura Skarnulis

Ms. Skarnulis became the Chief Executive Officer of DANB and the DALE Foundation on Aug. 16, 2021.

Ms. Skarnulis came to DANB and the DALE Foundation after serving for more than eight years as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), an organization that establishes the certification and continuing certification standards for its 24 Member Boards, certifying more than 920,000 physicians in one or more of the 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered.

As ABMS COO, Ms. Skarnulis was responsible for the oversight of the organization’s information technology services and database management system, marketing and communications, finance and audit, as well as new product development and international programs. Under her leadership, ABMS successfully created and launched an innovative longitudinal assessment platform that both transformed the user experience and delivered exceptional customer satisfaction. Ms. Skarnulis also created ABMS’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative focused on addressing systemic biases driving inequities of healthcare delivery, while concurrently serving as the leader of the organization’s pandemic response to COVID-19 ensuring the safety and well-being of staff while continuing to meet key strategic objectives and milestones.

Prior to her tenure at ABMS, Ms. Skarnulis served as Chief Operating and Financial Officer for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. She joined United Way after more than nine years as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Arena Football League and its affiliate af2.

Ms. Skarnulis received a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and became a Certified Public Accountant. She was named a 2019 Notable Woman in Healthcare by Crain’s Chicago Business and was a finalist for the Financial Executives International’s CFO of the Year award in 2012.