Vermont State Dental Society Executive Board
September 2019- September 2020
President, Thomas L. Opsahl, DMD
Dr. Opsahl practices general dentistry in Rutland, VT. Family Dental Associates is the name of his small group practice located in Rutland city.
Born and raised in rural New Jersey, Dr. Opsahl attended undergraduate school at Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana. He graduated magna cum laude from Valapraiso University with a degree in Biology. Following undergraduate education, Dr. Opsahl attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, from which he graduated in 1981. His general practice residency followed at the Medical Center Hospital of VT. Dr. Opsahl has previously served as president of the Rutland County Dental Society, has served for five years on the VT Board of Dental Examiners and has been a member of the Commission on Dental Competency for close to 10 years.
Tom and his wife Michelle have raised three children, now adults, all of whom currently live outside of the state of VT. His hobbies include skiing, sailing, hiking, and swimming.
"As a member of the Executive Board, I hope to continue to influence the future of dentistry in our region."
President-Elect, Loren T. Peck, DDS
Dr. Peck, a Buffalo, New York native received a BS in Chemistry from Saint Lawrence University in 1985 and his DDS degree from the University of Buffalo in 1989. After completing a General Practice Residency at Buffalo General Hospital in 1990, he relocated to the Bennington Vermont area where he maintains a general dental practice. Dr. Peck has been involved with the Bright Smiles Dental program at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the Bennington Free Dental Day. He has also coached youth ice hockey and lacrosse. In his
spare time he officiates boys lacrosse and spends time with his family. Dr. Peck resides in
North Bennington with his wife Hilary and their two children.
Vice President, Rebekah Lucier Pryles, DMD
Dr. Lucier Pryles received her undergraduate degree from Providence College and received her dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine where she graduated as the class valedictorian. She completed her residency in Endodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She has practiced at Upper Valley Endodontics in White River Junction, VT since graduation. She is a member of the Vermont State Dental Society, American Dental Association, and the American Association of Endodontists.
Dr. Lucier Pryles holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Endodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She continues to pursue academic writing and has published several peer-reviewed articles. Additionally, she co-authored the textbook "Endodontics Review: A Study Guide."
She is pleased to have the opportunity to serve the Vermont dental community by serving as a member of the Board of Directors at VSDS.
Treasurer, Audra J. Pinto, DMD
Dr. Audra Pinto received her undergraduate degree from Forsyth School for Dental Hygiene and Northeastern University and her dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, in 1994. Dr. Pinto has been practicing in South Burlington for 22 years.
Dr. Pinto is a member of the American Dental Association and the Vermont State Dental Society. She is currently on faculty at the University of Vermont Dental residency program.
Dr. Pinto lives in Essex Junction with her husband Brian and two teenage sons. She enjoys skiing, running outside in all four seasons and spending time with her family.
Secretary, Chris L. Pazandak, DDS
Originally from Minnesota, he has been a practicing dentist since the late 1970's. Prior to moving to Stowe, Chris spent three years in the USAF Dental Corps and nine years in a solo practice in New Hampshire. His love of dentistry comes from the closeness to the people he serves and the dedicated team with whom he works.
Chris received an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and a DDS degree from the University of Minnesota.
Director, Katarzyna "Kasia" Dionne, DMD
Dr. Kasia Dionne graduated from University of Vermont in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in biology and a minor in chemistry. She then continued on to dental school and graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2013. She has been practicing general dentistry since graduation, treating patients of all ages and dental needs. As part of her public health service, Dr. Dionne enjoyed providing dental care to children and adolescents in rural parts of Vermont, where access to care is limited. She now practices general dentistry in South Burlington.
Dr. Dionne is a member of American Dental Association and is proud to serve on Vermont State Dental Society Board of Directors.
She is also a faculty member of the dental residency program at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Dr. Dionne is a native of Poland and moved to the beautiful state of Vermont in 2000. She and her husband, Ed, reside in Williston. They enjoy spending time with their three daughters, Emma, Chloe, and Lilly, as well as their dogs, Bean and Rocky. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, swimming, reading, and spending time outdoors.
Director, Steve K. Rayes, DDS
Dr. Rayes graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He subsequently completed a General Practice Residency through the University of Louisville/Louisville VAMC before being commissioned in the US Public Health service. He was stationed in Alaska for 21 years and initially provided care to remote Alaska Villages prior to entering a 3 year Specialty Program in order to attain a Master’s in Pediatric Dentistry through the University of Michigan. He served the remainder of this US Public Health career as a Pediatric Dentist and was instrumental in the creation of a Residency Program in Pediatric Dentistry through NYU Langone, which he has continued to direct for over 10 years while being involved in dental research. Dr. Rayes is a Part Leader for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and serves on the Oral Clinical Examination Committee as well as serving as an Oral Board Examiner.
He now has a private practice in Pediatric Dentistry in Norwich, VT and continues to direct and teach in Alaska on a part time basis. Dr. Rayes enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children as they enjoy many outdoor activities including sugaring, bee keeping, camping, fishing, skiing and all that the Upper Valley has to offer. Dr. Rayes looks forward to serving the dental community in Vermont and advocating for Oral Health.
Director, Richard Lajoie, DDS
Dr. Lajoie is joining the board in November of 2019. He practices at the Northern Counties Dental Center in Hardwick.
Director, Emily Hill, DDS
A native Vermonter, Dr. Hill graduated in 2006 from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition Sciences. She returned to school to complete her degree in Dental Hygiene, which she then practiced at Timberlane Dental Group for nearly 3 years. Dr. Hill decided to pursue her goal of becoming a dentist and went to Marquette University in Wisconsin. She graduated summa cum laude in 2015 and was thrilled to return to her hometown to complete her General Practice Residency with UVMMC. She returned to Timberlane Dental Group where she has been practicing as a General Dentist since 2016. She is a member of the Vermont State Dental Society and the American Dental Association as well as the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Hill is also a faculty member of the Residency at the UVM Medical Center.
Dr. Hill loves that dentistry gives her an opportunity to help people feel their best and to serve her community. She currently resides in Essex with her husband who is also a UVM graduate.
Immediate Past President, Cassandra P. Coakley, DDS
After graduating from Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry in 1998, Dr. Cassandra Coakley moved from her native Ohio to practice dentistry in beautiful Central Vermont. Her practice is on Main Street in our capital city of Montpelier. Cassie, her husband, Mike, and their four children live in Waterbury where they are close to hiking trails in the summer and ski trails in the winter. They enjoy being involved in their community and volunteering with Special Olympics, where their oldest daughter is an athlete. "I am looking forward to this opportunity to represent the dentists of Vermont and help shape the future of dentistry in our state."
Immediate Past ADA First District Trustee, Judith M. Fisch, DDS
Dr. Fisch has practiced general dentistry in Rutland with her husband David K. Heaton, DDS since 1989. A 1984 graduate of Georgetown University Dental School, she also completed a tour of duty with the US Navy Dental Corps 1984-1989. She has served on the ADA council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs, is a past president of the Vermont State Dental Society, and has been a long term delegate to the ADA. Dr. Fisch served as chair of the ADA First District from 2011-2015 and began her four year term as ADA First District Trustee in 2015 ending in 2019.