School of Health Professions is home to dental assisting teacher

Dallas ISD believes in growing its own, so when graduates like Jennefer Ramirez want to come back and teach, they are welcomed back with open arms. Ramirez even came back to the very school that gave her the tools and the foundation to pursue her passion in life and now teaches dental assisting and medical terminology at the School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. 

Ramirez, who has been teaching at the health magnet for approximately 12 years, credits the dentist that she interned for as a student with motivating her to pursue a career as a dental hygienist. After graduating from Townview, Ramirez attended community college and then Texas A&M School of Dentistry, formerly known as Baylor College of Dentistry. After graduation, she worked as a dental hygienist for six years. 

Ramirez stayed in touch with the dentist and teacher who taught and encouraged her in high school, and, one day, she called her former teacher and jokingly asked what she needed to do to get her job, she said. It just so happened that her former teacher was ready to retire and wanted to make sure she found someone who would be able to continue the program. She saw Ramirez as a perfect fit, so Ramirez decided to get her teaching certification. 

“My teacher who taught dental assisting is why I’m a teacher, and the dentist I worked with in high school was why I became a dental hygienist,” she said. “I’ve got the best of both worlds because I’m still in dentistry, but I’m teaching at the same time.” 

Currently, her course offers a registered dental assisting certification, and every year, her students have had a 100 percent passing rate. In recent years, it started offering students an additional opportunity with the nitrous oxide certification. Ramirez’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and she was recently awarded the campus teacher of the year.

Ramirez says that students having these certifications offered by the school gives them a competitive edge in the job market once they graduate. 

She says she still keeps up with her students after they graduated, and that it’s a rewarding feeling that fills her heart to know that she played a role in the trajectory of their careers. She says her former students now have careers such as dental hygienists, dental assistants, office managers at dentists offices, optometrists, and dentists, among others. Ramirez has even seen siblings, cousins, and other student family members go through the dental assisting pathway program. 

“I had one student and then the next year his nephew was in my class, and so the uncle graduated one year before the nephew,” Ramirez said. “And now they’re both in dental school together. The nephew caught up, and they’re both going to graduate as dentists together this year,” she said. 

Ramirez and her students also run a dental clinic at the school, where the students are able to intern at the school through the clinic. A dentist comes out to the school to treat patients and offers services such as cleanings, root canals, fillings, and many other services at no cost to Dallas ISD students. 

Ramirez says that many of their current patients are newcomers to the country and the district. Currently, the clinic is open once a week on Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Most of the patients come to it through word of mouth or referrals from school nurses, according to Ramirez.

While she supervises and monitors her students in the clinic, they run the office – from the front desk, to the paperwork, to assisting the dentist, and communicating with the families. 

Ramirez has seen the impact that the students and the clinic have on the district’s families and hopes to someday expand the program in the event that more funding becomes available, or if more dentists donate their time

“I see my students’ passion in their work when they get to work with students, and then they educate them on how they should be taking care of their teeth to prevent [the situation] from happening again,” Ramirez said.  “And then, when the parents are in the waiting room, they speak to them. So not only does this impact the students being treated, but the families, as well.” 

“A student may be missing school because they have a toothache and have nowhere else to go for dental care. So when they come here, we could treat them and then they could go back to school.” said Ramirez. 

For more information about the dental assisting pathway at School of Health Professions at Townview, visit

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