Dental Assisting Faculty

The most experienced dental assisting instructors in the Vancouver area!

Meet Our Faculty

Melanie Naylor, head instructor

Melanie Naylor

Head Instructor

Melanie grew up in Southern, CA and was the second oldest of six siblings. She learned early in life that if you find something you love, continue following the path. Her family moved to Oregon where she attended high school and trained under a local dentist to be a dental assistant. She knew dentistry was for her, so she continued her education by pursuing a dental radiology license and expanded function certification. Melanie moved cities twice while maintaining a dental assisting job which provided a stable income and career despite relocating. 

During her dental assisting career she served as a lead assistant and general anesthesia assistant. She found the most fulfillment from helping patients feel comfortable. She’s known around the office for her happy spirit and kindness toward others. When the opportunity to teach at PNWDAS arose, she knew she needed to pursue it. It was difficult to part ways with her dental assisting job, but pursuing the path of teaching called her, and it’s been a perfect fit ever since. She enjoys seeing her students learn something that really made a difference in their lives and pursue a career to make them self-sufficient.

Her favorite thing about PNWDAS is the level of individual attention the doctor and teachers give each student. For more than 40 years, Melanie has dedicated herself to the continual growth of her dental craft–helping others accomplish their goals and spreading kindness wherever she goes. She enjoys spending her free time with her caring husband at their little home watching funny movies, cooking, and baking, and treasuring each moment together as a gift from God. 

Tanya Balan, instructor

Tanya Balan


Tanya is a lab instructor at PNWDAS and brings more than 10 years of experience into her teaching. She enjoys guiding students on their learning journey and applying her vast experience in her teaching. She loves seeing the joy and pride of her student’s faces when they graduate and receive their dental assisting certificate. When Tanya isn’t helping students learn and grow, she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and friends. Going to church, singing, baking and spending time in nature are among some of her favorite restorative pastimes. 

Tanya Balan, instructor

Raj Kaur


Raj Kaur is an exceptional instructor with extensive experience as a dental assistant and office administrator. She has worked with many general dentists and specialists and is great at training students and staff members. Her love for training students is reflected in her excellent teaching techniques. She is extremely patient, soft-spoken, and she diligently trains students until they feel confident about performing a procedure. Raj offers great encouragement and is a wonderful role model for all students.

Tanya Balan, instructor

Alexia Meier


Alexia knew from an early age she wanted a career in the dental field. She admired the technique and skill required to work in dentistry, along with the compassion and warmth provided by practitioners. She’s always been very driven, which is why she was able to start dental assisting studies while still in high school. After graduating from both, she began working as a dental assistant at Radiance Dental. Alexia showed an aptitude for learning quickly and applying her knowledge in a clinic setting while also cross-training in other areas of the dental office. Now she helps students at PNWDAS gain hands-on training in dental assisting so they’re confident and equipped to practice their new skills. Her ability to both practice dental techniques and instruct new students proves to be an excellent resource for our students to gain the knowledge, skill, and practice they need. 

Alexia loves teaching at PNWDAS because of the kindness and compassion each doctor and instructor shows. She’s eager to do whatever needs to be done and teaches her students how to identify opportunities to help beyond their specific job function which makes them a valuable asset to any dental office. When she’s not at the office she likes to spend time with loved ones, watch movies, or workout at the gym. She loves the outdoors and will try just about anything once.

Tanya Balan, instructor

Christina Becker


Christine grew up inspired by her single mother, who worked hard to provide for her family. This experience gave her a strong work ethic and compassion for those in need. Once she graduated high school she was accepted to Portland Community College where she pursued a degree in science. She worked various jobs throughout high school and college but felt herself still searching for the right fit. One day, her friend who was a dental assistant encouraged her to look into that career opportunity. She did, and never looked back! She was accepted to PCC’s dental assisting program and graduated with Presidental and Dean’s honors.  

She’s gained various dental assisting titles and recognitions, and she’s most proud of becoming a certified dental assistant and later being nationally recognized for her exceptional career. Christine felt like she’d finally found a line of work that suited her drive and compassion, and pays it forward by teaching others at PNWDAS how becoming a dental assistant can change their life. She loves giving back to the dental community by sharing her experience and knowledge with others. 

Tanya Balan, instructor

Ryian Jurasz


As alumni of our dental assisting school, Ryian is a shining example of how well equipped our students are upon graduating. She’s been working as a dental assistant ever since she graduated and enjoys every minute! Her passion for the job and desire to help others learn and become confident in their skills is a great asset to our team. Her favorite thing about the school is the family atmosphere. She builds friendships and connections with students to create a positive environment to learn and grow. Students know Ryian for her tough love, patience, and quirkiness. When she’s not teaching you’ll find her outdoors with her two favorite dogs, spending time with loved ones or roaming around Target. 

Dr. Bharathi, director

Dr. Bharathi

Dentist and Director

Dentistry is more than my profession. It is my passion. I want to help the students at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School feel the same passion that I do!

Since graduating from Boston University, my family and I have traveled to many incredible countries and visited many beautiful places. Ultimately, we chose to make our home here in the Pacific Northwest.

I look forward to helping students in the Vancouver and Camas area start their dental careers!

“I love the teachers at PNWDAS. They’re here to lift you up, encourage you, and make you the best dental assistant you can be.”

Learn More About Our Training Program

Accelerated Classroom Study And Hands-On Learning Experience!

dental assisting student performing an xray

Dental Assisting Career Outlook

A High-Paying, Rewarding & In-Demand Healthcare Career!

dental assistant students posing for a photo with their instructor

“Let me just start off with how much I adore everyone who works at Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School. Melanie and the rest of the staff are so sweet! They care so much about your success! This program is very flexible and perfect for busy lives. So much hands-on experience and such a great way to start your career. I’m sad that it’s coming to an end because I met such a great group of people doing this program. Highly recommend it.”
– Marias

Why Attend Pacific Northwest Dental Assisting School?

Fast-Paced Program

Accelerated classroom study.
Only 12 weeks to an exciting career.

Small Class Sizes

We limit our class sizes so our students can receive personalized instruction.

Tuition is Only $5,995!

Financial assistance available.
The lowest tuition of any program.

Flexible Class Schedules

Nights & weekend class options.
Keep working while you study.

Great Career Opportunities

Almost 100% of our graduates begin working right away.

Dental Treatment

Dental treatment discounts available for students.