instructors who care

Small classes allow you to receive personalized training from instructors who care deeply about your success.

I am very thankful to have a school, teachers, and team that inspires you every class.All the hands-on labs we did were really helpful, along with being able to contact teachers 24/7. The teachers were amazing!

osiris a.

Dr. Summer Kassmel, DDS, Director/Instructor

Summer attended Fort Hays State University before earning her doctorate from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. She practiced in Greeley, Colorado before making Vail Valley her permanent home. Dr. Kassmel started the dental assisting school to help better the lives of all those seeking to become professionals in the dental field without the hassle of driving to Denver or Grand Junction. She is a member of American Dental Association, Colorado Dental Association, Western Colorado Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, as well as local study groups.

Racheal richards, Registrar, Administrator, Instructor

Racheal graduated from the Vail Valley Dental Assisting School in 2015 and is excited to be part of the dental field. She is currently working at Castle Peak Dental and loves being a dental assistant! She is married to Cassidy Richards. They have two daughters, Reygan and Kaylie, and 2 dogs named Dexter and Ralph. Racheal has found she is passionate about helping other people become professional dental assistants! Our students appreciate her energetic and compassionate approach.

Amy Meryhew, RDH, Instructor

Amy is a 1997 graduate of Colorado Northwestern Community College where she received her degree in Dental Hygiene. Upon graduation, Amy moved to the Vail Valley where she has been working in private practice since. She is an active member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Amy has served as Vice President for the Colorado Dental Hygienists’ Association, represented the Western Slope Dental Hygienists’ Society on the Board of Trustees, and has been on the Advisory Committee for Colorado Northwestern Community College since 1998. She currently works for Dr. Summer Kassmel as a hygienist at Castle Peak Dental in Eagle, Colorado. She is married to Jesse Meryhew and has one daughter, Jacey. Amy has been with the dental assisting school since it began and loves teaching students how to be competent and professional assistants. Students enjoy Amy’s vast amount of knowledge and patience.

debbie dodson, instructor

Debbie is the Practice Director at Castle Peak Dental and Avon Dental. She has been in the dental field for 25 years. She was a Registered Dental Hygienist for 10 years, before moving to the administrative side of the dental team. She has taken extensive courses in dental insurance utilization and customized treatment planning. She has received certifications in Dentrix and SoftDent. Her knowledge and desire to help each patient, make her an invaluable team member. All students can learn from Debbie's experience and passion for dentistry. She and her husband, Jon, have 3 children and 4 grandchildren, 3 live in the Vail Valley and the other lives in Oklahoma . She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and cooking. She is also talented in creating original artwork in many different mediums.

andrea owens, executive assistant

Andrea Owens has been an Executive Assistant since 2018. She helps facilitate business operations for Vail Valley Dental Assisting School, DA Schools delivered, Castle Peak Dental, and Avon Dental. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from the University of North Texas. Andrea moved from Texas to the Vail Valley in 2007. She and her husband, Jeff, have two young children, Ella and Easton.  Andrea enjoys hiking, camping, days at the lake, and going on adventures with her family.

melissa rodriquez, Administrative Assistant

Melissa Rodriquez has been a local of the Eagle Valley since 1994. She graduated from Eagle Valley High School in 2010. Melissa has worked as a Front Office Supervisor at the Best Western Eagle Lodge & Suites and now use that skill set to facilitate business operations for Vail Valley Dental Assisting School, DA Schools Delivered, Castle Peak Dental, and Avon Dental. Melissa and her husband, Juan, love spending their summers being adventurous with their two kids, Austin who is five and Laylah who is two. Melissa is excited to be a part of the team and grow within the company.

Jillian Jugert , Administrative Assistant

Jillian has been in the dentistry field for over 5 years where she has a successful track record with marketing and administrative work. She is excited to be on the team and make an impact with Vail Valley Dental Assisting School, DA Schools Delivered, Avon Dental, and Castle Peak Dental.Jillian is from Colorado and enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, tap dancing, singing, traveling, and trying out new restaurants.