Meet the Team
Our skilled and accomplished team looks forward to making your visit a good experience.
Merralinda Goddard, Billing Coordinator
Merralinda has been working in dentistry for over 20 years. She has also taught dental assisting and is a certified CPR instructor. Merralinda enjoys helping patients get their full dental insurance benefits and loves the challenging and detail-oriented work that this entails. She finds it rewarding to see the smile on a patient’s face after treatment is complete.
Hailing from Northern California, Merralinda attended San Jose City College. She says, “The move to this area has been such a great experience, with great schools, friendly people, and abundant opportunities.” However, she still roots for the San Francisco Giants. Merralinda loves traveling and spending time with her husband, daughter, and two cats. She also enjoys sewing; she makes items such as bags, skirts, and hats.
Gia Garrett, Registered Dental Hygienist
Gia has been interested in teeth since she was young and decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene after shadowing a few hygienists. She enjoys creating relationships with her patients and gets deep satisfaction from cleaning their teeth and leaving them fresh and sparkling.
She says, “I come to work because I love people! I think it’s fantastic that I can help patients become healthier with cleanings and education.”
Gia grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She attended Pima Community College and Northern Arizona University and has worked in the dental field since 2009. Gia lives with her husband, their three (soon to be four) children, and their Bernedoodle, Dudley. Gia enjoys photography, cooking, organizing, and volunteering.
Elly Vazirnia, Registered Dental Hygienist
Elly has worked in dentistry for over 25 years, both in private practice and volunteer clinics. A Chicago native who has lived in Arizona for three years, Elly holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of St. Francis and a degree in dental hygiene. Elly knows she can make a subtle but significant impact on people’s lives by teaching them good oral hygiene habits. In addition, she enjoys building relationships with patients as she sees them progress from visit to visit. Her goal is for patients to keep their teeth for their lifetime.
Elly and her husband Jim have four adult children and one grandson. Elly loves hiking, travel, reading, and yoga. About the area, she says, “The mountains are amazing, the hikes are plentiful, and the sky is either blue or full of stars. I love the weather.”
Brenda Mook, Registered Dental Hygienist
Brenda grew up in Tempe, Arizona, and studied at Northern Arizona University, where she graduated cum laude in 2000. She returned to NAU as a clinical instructor while also working in private practice, and she was also a member of one of the boards for the Arizona Dental Association.
Brenda has been working with Dr. Walden since 2009. She says, “I love clinical hygiene. I have created many, many relationships with my patients and love being able to improve their oral and sometimes physical health.”
Brenda loves spending time with her husband, two grown stepchildren, and 8-year-old grandson. Soon a Yorkie pup named Maizel will join the family. Brenda also enjoys reading.
Britten Wards, Dental Assistant
Britten is a recent transplant from Chicago. She’s a graduate of Plano Senior High School and has been a dental assistant for 16 years. She lives with her dog, Brutus, and enjoys adventuring with her boyfriend, Beau. She also has fun at concerts and comedy shows.
Britten says, “I love showing up for my patients and making sure they have the most pleasant experience they can at the dentist, which I know is not people’s favorite place.”
Jannette Vickrey, Front Desk
Jannette comes from Morgan Hill, California. She’s a new employee at Walden Dental Group, where she enjoys greeting patients, getting to know them, and seeing them gain the confidence they need to enjoy their smiles.
Jannette is married and has a 1-year-old. In her free time, she likes camping in the sand dunes with her family and riding in their Sandrail.
Dimity Jade Pierce, Dental Assistant
Dimity moved to Arizona from Texas in 1999. She attended Carrington College, Pima Medical Institute, and Central Arizona College and has been working as a dental assistant for 12 years. Dimity gets satisfaction from helping patients understand their treatment and have a positive experience during their appointments.
Dimity and her husband are new parents to a baby girl. They also have three fur babies, all beagles or beagle mixes.
Michelle Erickson, Office Administrator
Michelle is a native of Mesa who has been working in office administration for 10 years. She has two children, Kylee and Camden, and two stepchildren, Kailyn and Colbin. Soon Michelle will be a grandmother for the first time.
Lexie Curleyhair, Registered Dental Assistant
Lexie is from Mesa and has been a dental assistant for 17 years. She’s an alumnus of Westwood High School and Pima Medical Institute. She says, “I have had an interest in teeth since I was young. They are one of the first things people see.” It’s fulfilling for Lexie to see patients achieve the smile they’ve always wanted.
Lexie is newly married to her best friend, Eli, and enjoys spending time with him and his daughter, Katie. They have two wonderful and crazy dogs, Daisy and Ollie. Lexie’s hobbies include sewing, crocheting, four-wheeling, and camping.
Sonya Phillips, Registered Dental Hygienist
Sonya has been a dental hygienist for 12 years. She’s originally from Washington state and went to dental hygiene school in Boise, Idaho.
Sonya enjoys spending time with her family, which includes a daughter and two sons, the youngest of whom is a junior in high school. They have a 3-year-old rescue pup named Dudley. Sonya’s favorite activities are hiking, paddle boarding, and traveling.
Jessica Aponte, Treatment Coordinator
Jessica is originally from California. She’s been in Arizona for 10 years and has been working in dentistry for 14 years. Jessica attended the University of the Pacific and Kaplan University and is devoted to her family, including her two children, a Great Dane, and a black Lab.
When she’s not at the office, Jessica enjoys going for long UTV rides with her family and visiting the Dunes. She also likes basketball, camping, fishing, hunting, and crafting.
Alina Bogle, Registered Dental Hygienist
Alina was born and raised here in Arizona, and she graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s of science in dental hygiene. She’s been a registered dental hygienist for 17 years and has been obsessed with smiles since she was young. She also loves connecting with people and is motivated every day by the relationships she’s formed over the years with her patients.
“It’s an incredible feeling to help someone get their teeth and gums back to good health and see the happiness and confidence they gain.”
When she’s not at the office, Alina enjoys hiking, reading, and especially family time. She and her husband have been married for 22 years and have three sons and a daughter, all of whom play sports. The family also cherishes their yellow Lab, Sunny.