DANB and the DALE Foundation select new CEO

Chicago, IL (June 14, 2021) – The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the Dental Advancement through Learning and Education Foundation (the DALE Foundation) have named Laura L. Skarnulis as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of both organizations. Ms. Skarnulis was appointed by the DANB Board of Directors and the DALE Foundation Board of Trustees after an extensive nationwide search led by executive recruiting firm Kittleman & Associates.

Ms. Skarnulis will assume the role of CEO on Aug. 16, 2021, succeeding Cynthia C. Durley, M.Ed., MBA, who has been DANB’s Executive Director since 1996 and the DALE Foundation’s Executive Director since its inception in 2010. The CEO search began earlier this year after Ms. Durley announced that she would be transitioning away from the Executive Director position after Aug. 31, 2021. Ms. Durley will serve in a consultative role to assist with the transition process and to ensure continuity of current operations and initiatives. 

Ms. Skarnulis comes to DANB and the DALE Foundation after serving for more than eight years as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), an organization that establishes the certification and continuing certification standards for its 24 Member Boards, certifying more than 920,000 physicians in one or more of the 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered.

As ABMS COO, Ms. Skarnulis was responsible for the oversight of the organization’s information technology services and database management system, marketing and communications, finance and audit, as well as new product development and international programs. Under her leadership, ABMS successfully created and launched an innovative longitudinal assessment platform that both transformed the user experience and delivered exceptional customer satisfaction.

Ms. Skarnulis also created ABMS’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative focused on addressing systemic biases driving inequities of healthcare delivery, while concurrently serving as the leader of the organization’s pandemic response to COVID-19 ensuring the safety and well-being of staff while continuing to meet key strategic objectives and milestones.

Prior to her tenure at ABMS, Ms. Skarnulis served as Chief Operating and Financial Officer for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. She joined United Way after more than nine years as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Arena Football League and its affiliate af2.

Ms. Skarnulis received a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She was named a 2019 Notable Woman in Healthcare by Crain’s Chicago Business and was a finalist for the Financial Executives International’s CFO of the Year award in 2012.

“The DANB and DALE Foundation Boards selected Ms. Skarnulis as the new CEO based on her exceptional experience with certifying boards and other nonprofit organizations, as well as her impressive success with strategic planning, business development, operations and leadership,” said DANB Board Chair Michael Conte, D.M.D., M.P.H. “We look forward to working with her to oversee our strategic initiatives and set the stage for both organizations to continue to thrive during this exciting time in dentistry.”

“The DALE Foundation has grown tremendously in the last few years,” said DALE Foundation Board President Joanne Dawley, D.D.S. “Ms. Skarnulis has the expertise to lead the DALE Foundation as it continues its trajectory of introducing new educational offerings and serving a wider range of oral healthcare professionals.”


About DANB and the DALE Foundation

DANB is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certifying board for dental assistants. DANB’s mission is to promote the public good by providing credentialing services to the dental community. DANB exams and certifications are recognized or required by 37 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate, benefits the public by providing quality continuing education and conducting sound research to promote oral health. The DALE Foundation offers interactive e-learning courses and study aids to help dental assistants and other oral healthcare professionals expand their knowledge and grow their careers.

For more information, visit www.danb.org or www.dalefoundation.org.

About Kittleman & Associates

Kittleman & Associates is a national executive search firm that specializes in the recruitment of CEOs for tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, public charities and philanthropic organizations. For more information, visit www.kittlemansearch.com.