In 2012, Dr. K purchased the practice from Dr. Terry Horlick (who retired in 2015), and branded it as Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry. Caring Tree is now expanding to include a second office in Lincoln later in 2018. Dr. K nurtures a supportive, joyful, and cohesive team in her practice, knowing this ensures the most positive dental experiences for our young patients and their families.
Dr. Michelle Kucera, known as Dr. K, has always loved children.
One of her most profoundly touching moments came when she and her slightly younger sister were babysitting their much younger and then very small sister, a toddler. They decided to encourage the little one to walk by standing at opposite ends of the room and calling to her. The adolescent Dr. K and sister cajoled, cheered, supported and reassured the baby. Much to their surprise, the toddler took her first steps! This was an exciting and life-affirming moment for a teenage girl.
When Dr. K was in high school, she got a job with a local dentist and orthodontist. At the time, like most high school kids, it seemed like a way to get some income. As time went on, she became fascinated by interacting with so many different people during the course of the day. She loved the science of dentistry – there was so much to learn.
A guidance counselor inadvertently propelled Dr. K to dental school by suggesting she set her sights on working for another dentist as a hygienist. Always an achiever, Dr. K felt she would be happier becoming her own boss. Not long after that, she attended Case Western Reserve University, graduating in only six years instead of the typical eight.
Always valuing a relationship with others, she was interested in patients’ stories while in dental school. She took the time to listen and develop a bond with them, earning their trust and honoring them as individuals. She was surprised when these patients often brought her small presents as tokens of their gratitude. As far as Dr. K was concerned, the gift of time was essential and natural – she truly cared what they had to say.
An Aunt was an exciting and enchanting role model for young Dr. K. This Aunt was an independent and opinionated woman with a singular goal – to become an airline pilot. Dr. K followed her Aunt’s career with fascination and reverence. The Aunt began her career as a flight instructor, then became a pilot flying freight at night. So difficult was it at that time for her to enter a male-dominated field, she needed the tenacity and sheer focus to persevere. Now, she is a pilot for Delta Airlines. She was the first woman in Dr. K’s family to achieve such an impressive level of education and responsibility, and served as a wonderful model to encourage a young woman to follow her own path.
Her long list of goals includes riding her bicycle across the United States, learning to speak Spanish well, and someday perhaps joining the Peace Corps. She loves spending time with her daughter, a toddler and watching her grow and learn. She also looks forward to traveling with her husband and daughter to India, Asia and eventually Africa. The discovery of new and creative foods is part of the pleasure of travel.
The creation of a cohesive and joyful team who supports one another is something Dr. K works to nurture in her practice. After purchasing Caring Tree Children’s Dentistry in August of 2012, she immediately set out to honor and show respect to her entire team, knowing that this ensures the very best of experiences to her young patients and their families.
Doctor of Dental Surgery
Pediatric Dental Certificate
American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Board Certification
California Oral Conscious Sedation License
Staff Member Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
Basic Life Support Certification
Robyn truly understands the challenges parents with young children face. As a single mother of three children before she was 25, she held two jobs and attended Dental School to become a Registered Dental Assistant. Although at times it was daunting, she persevered, and graduated at the top of her class.
This tenacity still serves her well. The desire to make a better life for her family has given her the vision to move forward in spite of everyday struggles. Her son, now a young adult, has had a serious chronic health issue for much of his life, requiring many surgeries over the years. Because of this, she has had ample opportunity to observe medical personnel communicate with both her and her son. She wants to do better than many of those with whom she has interacted.
As a result, she has learned how to communicate with empathy; to recognize fear and frustration in parents and kids. Having spent so much time in hospitals, she has an uncommon perspective into the challenge faced by a parent whose child needs hospital dentistry, and can truly help them know they are in competent hands.
One of her goals is to someday open a full-service shelter for families – one which will fill the basic needs of all people with respect and compassion. She values hard work and is known for her insistence on working until the job is done – no matter how long it takes.
Robyn grew up on the family’s dairy farm with her sister. She remembers always being surrounded by family – her Dad had 10 siblings and her Mom 4, so Aunts, Uncles and Cousins were always present. Long days on the dairy were made interesting to a young girl by riding on the tractor and feeding the hungry animals.
One of her favorite role models is a nurse who cared for her son at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. This nurse, in spite of being tired and overworked, took it upon herself to make certain Robyn’s son got all services he needed, even when this meant she followed up by making calls to doctors or social services on her own time.
Her favorite thing about Dental School? She got to attend with her best friend. They entered school and graduated together, helping each other along the way with encouragement and understanding.
Registered Dental Assistant (2001)
Coronal Polish License
Basic Life Support Certification
Sally grew up in a small town. She has been in the dental industry for 3 years, and her favorite part of her job is getting to work with kids. She says they are hilarious and just plain fun to be around. When she not having fun with the kids at Caring Tree she loves painting, hiking, camping, and working out. She says her life has been a rollercoaster ride for her, like a rollercoaster from Disney. She says she doesn’t want it to end. Her goals are simply to be happy, and healthy, and to have a happy family and home. She hopes to have an impact and leave the world a little better.
Bill is a nearly complete newcomer to the dental world. Other than late-night and dinner table conversations with Dr. K about prophylaxis or the pros and cons of composites versus amalgams, his primary entry into this world is based upon the fact that he, indeed, has teeth. (You’ll surely note it in his gleaming smile.) Prior to working at Caring Tree, Bill practiced as a criminal defense attorney for nearly 15 years. At some point, he began to realize that something felt a little off with his life. (At this point, it should probably be mentioned that Bill not only works for Dr. K, but he’s also married to her.)
Anyway, at those times when late-night and dinner-table conversations between Bill and Dr. K were not about dentistry or the law, they steered towards the stress of being full-time working parents. Bill and Chelle (that’s her home name, along with “Momma”) both realized that they were working very hard and piling on tons of stress and something different needed to be done. In early 2019, they cautiously and nervously agreed that Bill should leave the law and work for Dr. K – that’s right, for, not with. While you might think that he gets a pass because of his marital status, you’d be right, but for the wrong reason. He gets a pass because he works for an amazing person and, yeah, he actually likes it.
Bill’s focus will be twofold: marketing and front-office assisting. Most of his focus will be on building up the Lincoln Caring Tree Office. That means that Bill will always put forth his best argument as to why Caring Tree is the best (and frankly, the only) option for your child’s dental care. Except, instead of making a dramatic closing argument in front of a jury, he’ll just let your kids’ health and happiness speak for him.
(P.S. Don’t ask him for legal advice, he’ll just tell you to call a lawyer.)
Let’s start by acknowledging that Catherine has lived the most interesting life in our office. I mean who else in this office raised 5 Siberian Huskies for a Racing Sled Team? So, you might ask, what brings her to our little dental office in Lincoln? We don’t ask such questions here – we’re just grateful to have her.
A poet at 4, Catherine proudly hails from a “Nut Family” (and we’re not talking a’monds) where the sounds of music, the smell of good food and the sight of family was always present. Her family is filled with musicians, chefs and academics. They gave her her love of music – (piano, accordion, guitar, violin and songwriting) and adventure (living the nomadic lifestyle). And of course, a family of educators instilled a lifetime of learning and listening in Catherine. Other than learning the whole new field of dentistry, she is re-taking up painting as she continues to work on her violin skills.
But, clearly family was not enough for her, so she ventured out to the gritty streets of London and New York and the sun-dappled island of Crete to cut her musical chops in the footsteps of the Chieftains and Richard Thompson. Exploring Europe appears to have fueled her desire to learn about people from many different cultures and eat their food.
This strong lady learned her ways from her Grandmother and a dear friend and mentor, Victor, an architect and sculptor. Grandma, a funny, strong and honest woman taught her about family and elbow grease, and Victor taught her about herself and to never back down. Nonetheless, her soft side gains warmth from the kids and her colleagues at Caring Tree.
Oh, and her blood runs Black and Orange. She said that might be important to some folks.
Zachary knows that a trip to the dentist can be unsettling and even frightening for children, and that’s why he goes the extra mile to ensure every single pediatric patient he treats knows they can trust him.
From an early age Zachary realized he got the most personal and professional satisfaction from helping people. Zachary turned his fervent desire to be extraordinarily accommodating into an accomplished vocation in the dental profession. He began his dental career in 2018; earned his certificate for dental assisting upon graduating from Carrington College in Sacramento, California, in 2019; and has been part of the Caring Tree staff since early 2022. When Zachary gains our patients’ trust, they tend to relax more and become so much more easy going.
Zachary was proudly born and raised in Yuba City, California, and grew up with his older sister and his “awesome” mom. And if you ever see Zachary around town and you’d like to say “hi,” you might want to double check to make sure it’s actually him because he also has a twin brother (pro tip: if he’s out walking his adorable little doggo named Max, it’s Zachary).
The saying goes, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” but in Zachary’s case, the way to his heart is with Mexican food! When he’s not demolishing a burrito or helping children keep their mouths as healthy as possible, Zachary digs playing video games, binge-watching TV series and going out to dance the night away from time to time. When he has time off, Zachary loves traveling to explore places he’s never been before.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support
Basic Life Support
Lizzy grew up in the Bay Area. Her favorite thing about dentistry is chatting with kids and families and making sure they have a fun and positive experience. When she is not working, she loves to spend time with her daughter, twin boys, and fiancee. They love to go swimming and play with their dogs, Sammy and Sully. She also likes to read a good romance novel, Mexican and Thai food, traveling, and spend time at Rollins Lake. A unique thing about her is she is left-handed.
BLS and CPR Certified
Since 2007, helping others achieve a happy and healthy smile has always been Leslie’s favorite part of the job. And although she loves dental assisting, and constantly strives to improve her knowledge and skill, she is most proud of being a mother to her beloved son.
Leslie bases her strong work ethic on her grandmother, who she says was her number-one role model. “Every time we asked to bake cookies or pick flowers or fruit off the trees, my grandmother always taught us the best way while making it fun at the same time,” says Leslie. “My grandmother taught me the true meaning of dedication and hard work, and also how to get back up and start again if you ever stumble.” And like her resilient grandmother, Leslie is always giving of her time and love to everyone.
Originally from Bakersfield, Leslie, her parents and her sister gradually made their way up California to Elk Grove where she has stayed ever since the 7th grade. If you ever see Leslie around town, you’ll likely find her with her son and their two massive dogs she lovingly named, “The Monsters.” In her spare time – when she gets a free minute, that is – she enjoys D.I.Y. projects around her house, as well as hiking and kayaking with her son.
Pediatric Advanced Life Support