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Camp Merkley - Our Team


 Dr. Patty Merkley


Dr. Patty Merkley, known as “Dr. Patty” by the kiddos she treats, began her career in helping others in the field of nursing. She found immediate joy and fulfillment in the ability to put people at ease in moments of stress. She quickly realized that this gift would be maximized in the area of dentistry. Being a big kid herself, she was drawn to the opportunity to laugh and play while utilizing her gift of calmly caring for little ones at the same time! Since discovering this she feels like she never “goes to work”, instead she sees each day as a chance to meet new kids, treat them and educate them through playful distraction and many laughs!


Professionally, she excelled in both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, graduating at the top of her class. Post-graduation, Dr. Patty was accepted into the prestigious Oregon Health and Sciences University-Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Pediatric Dental Residency program. During her residency, Dr. Patty developed and headed a research project studying the area of dental treatment under general anesthesia. This project continued after she graduated from the program, noting the value of the results and the impact it has on providing the best patient care. Dr. Patty also served as Chief Resident working alongside some of the leading pediatric dental and medical doctors, obtaining the knowledge passed on by their experience. 


Her level of commitment to her education and training extends to her daily practice in pediatric dentistry. Not only does she provide exceptional dental care to children of all ages and levels of health, but she also treats each child with the tenderness and compassion necessary to create a positive experience.


Dr. Patty loves spending time with family and friends. She has a 12-year-old daughter, Chloe Reese, an energetic cheerleader attending Central Junior High School.  In her time away from “work” you can find her exercising, hanging out with Chloe (watching Princess and the Frog and singing like Tiana), traveling or just relaxing. No matter where you cross her path, you can be sure you will probably catch her singing and enjoying a giant laugh!

Dr. Christine Schoolman

Dr. Christine Schoolman is proud to join Dr. Patty Merkley and her team to help provide children with the best possible dental experience.

Dr. Schoolman’s love of dentistry began when she was a youthful 8 years of age. It was then that her pediatric dentist inspired her with his kindness, humor and above all his love for his profession. Her enthusiasm for dentistry grew as she worked as a dental assistant for an orthodontist while obtaining her undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University. After finishing her Doctor of Pharmacy in 2000 in New Mexico, she moved to Missouri to attend the University of Missouri –Kansas City School of Dentistry. Dr. Schoolman obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery in 2004. During her years in Kansas City she met her husband, Steve. Dr. Schoolman has served proudly in the Southeast Missouri area for a little over 7 years.

Dr. Schoolman and her husband Steve have 3 beautiful children who are very active and keep her on her toes. When her children and 2 Labrador’s give her a break, she loves to volunteer (both personal and professional), bake, craft, read and travel. Dr. Schoolman’s love of dentistry and children will ensure that your child’s appointment is a great experience-one that they will look forward to coming back to again.




Hello! My name is Trinity, I am the Front Camp Leader here at Camp Merkley. I am married to the funniest man ever, Justin. I graduated from Southeast Missouri State in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in education. From a young age I always I loved going to the dentist and have been lucky enough to work in the dental field since 2018. I can be found in the front at Camp Registration, answering questions and helping anyway I can. I love everything Disney. When I am not working I love spending time with my family and my sweet little puppy, Leonard or exploring outside!




Hello everybody! My name is Elizabeth and I am the Camp Activities Coordinator. I am a fun loving mom to a charming 3 y/o boy Eli. Here at Camp, you can find me talking with your mom and dad about your visits. I am the one to arrange your stay at Sleep Away Camp and answer any questions that your parents may have about insurance or accounts. I’m a bit shy sometimes, but when nobody’s looking I do get into the music quite a bit! My favorite movie to see playing at camp is Despicable Me 3, my son and I have seen it more than 20 times. When I am away from Camp, you can find me helping my husband Mike on projects or with our son Eli, who keeps us very busy.



Hi everyone! My name is Cambreigh. I am one of the bright faces you first see when you check into camp. I will be at the front with Camp Registration here to help you as much as I can! I am a cat mom to the sweetest kitty named Liu. I attend Southeast Missouri State University and plan on becoming a teacher! I love Disney and exploring the outdoors as much as possible. I am so lucky to have an adorable niece and two adorable nephews. When I am away from camp, you can see me outside with my brother or reading my favorite books!



Hey y’all. I am one of your Camp Counselors, Amy. I have an energetic, sweet, sassy 4-year-old daughter named Ella Sophia as well as my husband, Clay at home. I absolutely LOVE meeting all the kids at Camp. Their sweet smiles are my favorite! My favorite Disney movie is The Aristocats, an oldie, but goody! “Everybody, everybody wants to be a cat!” Here at Camp Smiles Kids Dental you can find me assisting Dr.Patty with kiddos with their “Starry Camp Out” experience and “Sleep Away Camp”, new campers exams, and taking x-rays. I am whole-heartedly devoted to making any Camp experience enjoyable and fun for every child.  Alongside Dr. Patty I am highly committed to helping educate parents, guardians, and children on proper dental hygiene. When I am away from Camp I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, hanging by the pool during summertime, and shopping! Campers may catch me busting some dance moves down the hallway, I must say I like some good music, especially anything from the Descendants movies! I cannot wait to meet you and your camper very soon! 




Hello there, I’m Brie! I’m one of the dental assistants in the office and have been in the dental field since 2008. I love working with kiddos and strive to see a smile on all my campers faces by the time they leave their appointment. Here at Camp Merkley you can find me assisting Dr. Patty with kiddos with their “Sleep Away Camp” experience, completing follow up/ new patient exams and taking xrays. Mostly you can find me dancing, singing or being goofy around the office when I have free time. Outside of camp you can find me spending time with my wife and our fur babies, kayaking, hiking, camping, bowling or playing softball. My favorite part about working with kids is I feel like I have a special talent for making them laugh and to help make them comfortable during their camp experience. I guess you could say I’m a big kid at heart! I look forward to meeting you and your camper soon!  



Hey guys! I'm Patti. I am married to my husband Darren, have a son and a daughter as well as 6 grands!! l started in dentistry back in 1988. Here at the office you will find me on the hygiene side making your teeth sparkle and shine, on the treatment side helping assist chasing those cavities away, making all the appliances for our campers, and even at "Sleep Away Camp" occasionally. I'm a busy bee but love every second here at Camp!! When I'm not at the office you can find me outdoors and spend time with my favorite people in the world, my family! I look forward to seeing your smiling faces! 



Hi Campers! It’s your Camp Counselor Elainna. I love ️ to smile! I also really enjoy helping you keep your smile happy and healthy! When I’m not here at Camp Merkley ️ being your counselor I’m busy being a wife to my husband Curt, Mom to my two kids Lauren and Doug and Nana to my grandkids ‍‍Gus and Adi! My favorite movies to watch with them are Up and Zootopia ! I like the positive message of helping others in those movies. When I’m not here at Camp Merkley ️ helping you with your smile  I enjoy helping others that are not physically able to win races and triathlons through an organization My Team Triumph. Never ever give up!! I look forward to meeting all of you campers here at Camp Merkley️! 



Hello there, Happy Campers! I'm Amanda. I took a sudden interest in Dental Assisting not long after High School and decided to seek a career in it, happily leading me to Camp Merkley! Here at the office you will find me on the hygiene side making your pearly whites shimmer and shine! Hopefully soon enough you will catch me on the treatment side assisting Doc in chasing away those cavities! I was born and raised here in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and I have always loved taking strolls along the Mississippi River and casting out a line off the river bank. I enjoy being outdoors and most importantly, spending time with my family in my free time! I can not wait to find your smiling faces here at camp! Seen you soon!



To all of you campers out there I would like to introduce myself. I’m Mike, I am the Camp Operations Leader.  I may never meet you because I am a guy behind the scenes. Here at Camp, I help out with all the things needed to keep our Camp compliant with all rules and regulations. A couple of things about me, I married my high school sweetheart about a year before man first set foot on the moon. I have two grown, beautiful daughters, Laura and Patty. As it turns out my youngest, Patty goes by “Dr. Patty” here at Camp! ;) I also have four energetic grandchildren, whom I adore, Cambreigh, Haley, Connor, and Chloe. But enough about me, let’s hear all about you! I look forward to assisting the staff of counselors and of course, our leader, the “Camp Director”, in making your camping experience as best we can!

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