Drivers Ed Direct believes that our quality instructors are a vital part of the learning experience. Therefore, we follow the most rigorous screening standards in the industry to determine which instructors are suited to make your teenager's driving experience successful. In addition to hiring our instructors by committee, we conduct Department of Justice background checks, third party drug tests, and, we require that our instructors have all had prior experience working with teens in an educational capacity.
How did your lessons go?
To see what we demand from our highly qualified instructors, or to inquire about becoming an instructor yourself, read our instructor requirements here
THE CALIFORNIA CREW
(Los Angeles area... specifically.)
Movie: The Great Escape, Tommy Boy, Wedding Crashers, Donnie Darko & Breaking Away
Music: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Killers & Frank Sinatra
Hobby: Surfing, playing basketball and hiking with the family.
Tom and Conan in the Prius on the Tonight Show
Russell Brand Shares an anecdote about his driving lesson with Tom (on Jimmy Kimmel)
Check out Tom giving lessons on Dr. Phil
Tom gives Dr. Phil a hand with a tire changing competition
Student video testimonial for Tom
Teaching/Mentoring experience: With over 10 years experience behind-the-wheel and in the classroom, I have taught thousands of teenagers how to drive safely in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition, I am the lead instructor at Drivers Ed Direct and have personally trained all of our DMV licensed driving instructors. I have also coached soccer, track and football for boys and girls from ages 6 to 12 years old. One summer I lived in Hawaii and I spent the majority of it instructing kids, teenagers and young adults how to surf in the beautiful Pacific Ocean - that was my "Endless Summer".
Thoughts on teaching: Whenever you are able to impart knowledge & skills to somebody, that is satisfying; but when this knowledge and skills can actually make a difference in that person's life, then that's truly rewarding!
Thoughts on the environment: Mother Earth is beautiful and I would love to keep it that way for my kids; so, remember to always respect the outdoors and clean up after yourself!
Movie: Ocean's Eleven, The Dark Knight Rises, The Star Wars Saga, The Avengers and Inception
Music: U2, Coldplay & Carlos Santana
Hobby: Soccer, basketball, reading in my spare time and I have a big passion for swimming.
Other Languages: Spanish and learning French
Teaching/Mentoring experience: For the last three years I volunteered with my youth group, mentoring students of all ages. I would help them with everything from schoolwork to team building exercises. Growing up with an older and younger sibling, I found that learning the needs of others is very important.
Thoughts on teaching: There is a difference between teaching and being thought. When someone teaches, it is so rewarding to feel that you are helping another person be more knowledgeable in this world. There is amazing feeling you get when you know that you have helped a student achieve an understanding of a concept that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Knowing you did your part in helping others, that's what makes the teaching so unique.
Thoughts on the environment: Unfortunately this planet has been taken for granted. It is such a beautiful planet to all of humanity, but sadly because of so much pollution, the destruction of forest etc. it has become a very delicate planet. We should all take responsibility in treating our planet like it is... our home.
Movie: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Charade, A Face in the Crowd, The Big Lebowski & Five Easy Pieces
Music: Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Derek & the Dominos, Wilson Pickett & Creedence Clearwater Revival
Hobby: I enjoy playing basketball and ping-pong, reading, watching movies, and eating good food (which is not always the same as eating healthy food).
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Prior to becoming a driving instructor I was a math tutor, and helped many students survive their Pre-Calculus and Calculus courses.
Thoughts on teaching: Teaching is a great way to continue learning. When I try to explain something to students I gain a better understanding of the material, as well as a greater understanding of myself. Interacting with students is rewarding, because each one looks at the world in a totally unique way.
Thoughts on the environment: I like the environment. I want to get to know it. I don't want to kill it. I think littering is shameful.
Movie: The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Heavy Weights, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Music: Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Ingrid Michaelson, & Radiohead
Hobby: I love taking pictures. I've been a professional photographer for the last 7 years and it's such a joy to capture moments for people. I also love hiking in Malibu and hanging out on the beach with my friends.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: My mother and grandmother spent their entire lives as teachers, so it is engrained in me. I would help out in their classrooms and saw what it means to be a patient, caring teacher. I have taught various subjects and skill sets for almost every level, from elementary school all the way to college.
Thoughts on teaching: I love being able to give a student that "A ha!" moment when it finally clicks in. Teachers are one of our society's greatest assets. "In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else."
Thoughts on the environment: It's not just for us here and now, it's for our children and theirs.
Movie: Young Frankenstein, Dr. Strangelove, Alien, Rosemary's Baby, & The Country Bears
Music: Muse, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, The English Beat, & The Cure
Hobby: Baseball, Hockey, Golf, Writing, Improv, Banjo, & Cooking
Teaching/Mentoring experience: As an Acting Coach, Movement Coach & Choreographer I work with kids and young people of all ages. I have worked with kids in professional productions, directed children's theatre productions in the public and private school system and served for 3 years as Youth Outreach Director for the New Group theatre in Pittsburgh. At age 19, I began spending my summers as a Camp Counselor at the Jumonville Trainng Center in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. I spent 6 summers at the camp, mentoring kids from age 6 through high school.
Thoughts on teaching: It takes a village. As parents we are, of course, responsible for our own kid's development and education, but we are also responsible as a community. If we all collectively take the time to ensure that every kid in our community has a supportive environment in which to learn, our next generation will have a greater opportunity to succeed and be more willing to teach those that come after them.
Thoughts on the environment: Doesn't matter whether you believe in global warming or not or what you think about relying on oil or coal or if you prefer solar power...we all live on the same planet, which makes us roommates. You don't live here alone. And you just have to pick up after yourself and realize that some nights, you're not going to get to watch "Idol," because it's somebody else's turn with the remote.
Movie: Love & Basketball, The Notebook, Rocky, Forrest Gump, & The Last Dragon
Music: Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Keyshia Cole, Usher, Wale, & Maxwell
Hobby: Soccer, Working Out, Watching Sports, and hanging out with my family
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have worked with kids at summer camps teaching them the fundamentals of soccer. I was also in a teaching program where we would go to elementary schools and help kids improve their reading.
Thoughts on teaching: Teaching takes lots of patience and ability to understand that no two people are alike. It is important to continuously develop oneself professionally to keep up with new ideas and technology.
Thoughts on the environment: If we all work together, we could help keep our environment clean.
Movie: Tombstone, The Godfather series, & Pirates of the Caribbean
Music: U2, Offspring, & Fuel
Hobby: Beach volleyball and watching college football & basketball games
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Over the last couple of years, I have taught more than 700 students on their way to becoming safe drivers. I take a focused but relaxed approach to driver training, tailoring each lesson to the needs of that driver. I've had a range of students, from teens or adults that were very nervous about driving for the first time to some who already had their licenses but wanted to brush up with more practice on defensive driving techniques, the freeways, canyons or traffic. Whatever your situation, you'll definitely learn something, develop more confidence and improve at a pace that's right for you.
Thoughts on teaching: When you're trying something new, it's important to relax, have a sense of humor about it and be patient with yourself. One of the best things about teaching is being a part of someone's break-through moments and cheering them on as they improve these skills that they'll use for the rest of their lives.
Thoughts on the environment: There's so much beauty in our environment I think sometimes we don't even notice it. Don't say, "Someone else will do that." We all live here. Take responsibility and respect what we've got.
Movie: The Bourne Trilogy, Remember the Titans, Spy Game, Charlie St. Cloud, & The Book of Eli
Music: Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Eminem, Journey, & Green Day
Hobby: Surfing, Exercising, Krav Maga, Reading, Hiking, & Going on Adventures
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have lead many retreats at my high school and in particular, Kairos. I worked at a sports facility where I trained kids in running mechanics. I have volunteered at the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club and recently worked at a beach camp for kids.
Thoughts on teaching: Great teachers have the passion to teach or help others and I believe that is the most important part.
Thoughts on the environment: I think many people including myself seem to forget how much we affect the earth with our actions. If I can shut off my water while brushing my teeth to save gallons of water a year, imagine what we could all do for our world.
Movie: Abbot and Costello Go to Mars, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Jaws, & Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Music: Erik Satie, Arvo Pärt, & Lalo Schifrin
Hobby: Reading, watching PBS, & hiking
Teaching/Mentoring experience: In one of my first jobs, I was given the responsibility after just a few months of being a Crew Trainer where I started teaching new employees about policy and procedures. I really enjoyed training others and management picked up on my enjoyment of teaching the new recruits. It was my first promotion... not to mention it came with a raise! Also, I have been a New York "dialect coach" where I coach adults and kids helping them speak like a New York native.
Thoughts on teaching: Years ago my nephew gave me, unbeknownst to him, an incredible compliment. He basically said when we conversed I didn't insult his intelligence... he was 12 at the time. To teach is a privilege. I think it's important to be genuine.
Thoughts on the environment: Go to any National Park and you'll see nature - the environment - at its best! It's undeniable why it deserves TLC.
Movie: Avatar, 13th Warrior, The North Shore, Pirates of the Caribbean, & Back to the Future
Music: Daft Punk, Slayer, MIA, Black Eyed Peas & Crystal Castles
Hobby: Drawing, Skateboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking, & Video Games
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Ever since I began drawing and skateboarding, I helped teach others how to do the same. People are always shocked when they see little me drop into a huge transition at a skate park or pool, and hang with the pros. I was naturally asked how to do the things I do; and that transitioned into 2 years of sharing experiences, and teaching others how to keep their cool, their focus, and their balance in order to maintain control and be safe. Driving in Los Angeles can be like skating through a crowd in a skate park, or trying to focus and draw a sketch when life doesn't want you to relax. It's all part of being a good driver on the roads of life.
Thoughts on Teaching: I always admire those who have the power and knowledge to teach. Without this mankind would be lost. We wouldn't know who we are or where we come from; and eventually be destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. As teachers we hold the key to our evolution and future.
Thoughts on the environment: Thanks to technology, we now know there are millions of solar systems and galaxies out there; and yet, we have not found any other planet able to sustain the delicate balance we have on our home planet earth. Together we can help our home stay beautiful for our kids and their kids to come.
Movie: Dirty Dancing, The Orphanage, Pan's Labyrinth, Ever After, The Dark Night, & Guess Who
Music: The Doors, Alpha Midgets, Jesse & Joy, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Só Pra Contrariar
Hobby: I enjoy creating memories through spontaneity: riding my road bike through the San Fernando Valley, Exploring the Malibu Mountains, Exploring new taste buds by cooking different recipes and hanging out with my family and friends
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I spent a summer helping high school teens building on their leadership skills and enriching their education through an after school program. I also have years of experience teaching teens behind the wheel training. I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing what I have done and what I can do to ensure they don't become part of the statistic that 50% of teens crash within the first year.
Thoughts on teaching: I believe in the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child." Therefore, we are each a passerby with at least one thing to teach or instill in someone else during their journey. So, why not instill a lifelong skill that can break away from the bad habits that decrease the chance of growth.
Thoughts on the environment: We as living beings are made up of cells; we as people make up the body of planet Earth...so do unto it as you would do unto yourself. Nurture it. Love it!
Movie: Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Star Wars Saga, Tron, & Transformers
Music: The Beatles, Queen, Frank Sinatra, Death Cab for Cutie, & Foo Fighters
Hobby: Star gazing with my telescope, Basketball, Hiking, Jogging, & Roller Blading
Other Languages: Spanish & currently learning French
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I interned for 6 monthes at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA working with students of all ages helping them understand the importance of space exploration and manned space flight. I also tutored teens in Astronomy, Science and Biology.
Thoughts on teaching: Even before being an instructor with Drivers Ed Direct I loved teaching and mentoring those around me. Something I would say to my students at NASAs JPL is that anything is possible as long as you believe it is possible. With practice, determination and conviction you can achieve your goals and that is how I approach my students behind the wheel.
Thoughts on the environment: Our home planet Earth is like a beautiful jewel in the universe and unfortunately we don't take care of it as well as we should. I firmly believe that all of us have a responsibility as tenants on this beautiful planet. We need to personally do our part to help the environment and start with the small things that may not seem to matter at first.
Movie: Back To the Future I, II and III, Horrible Bosses, The Hangover, My Cousin Vinny, & Hot Fuzz
Music: Wasted Penguinz, Abandon All Ships, Linkin Park, Metric, & Eminem
Hobby: I'm into sports and fitness. I love hockey and my favorite team is the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion, Los Angeles Kings. I enjoy cycling and photography as well.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I worked as a summer camp counselor for three years. I worked with pre-teen and teenagers in many different facets, including team building exercises, art and crafts & many different sports.
Thoughts on teaching: I am very excited to share my knowledge and experience with others...it is very rewarding to help mankind.
Thoughts on the environment: Trying to save our environment in any way possible is vital for our well-being.
Movie: Psycho, All That Jazz, The Graduate, Amadeus & Finding Nemo
Music: You name it: Beethoven to James Brown, Little Richard to Diana Krall
Hobby: Movies, NBA basketball (Lakers), travel, & reading
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I was a Teachers Assistant in college at USC, and I taught video/film production to teenagers in Middle & High School.
Thoughts on Teaching: I think teaching is one of the most elegant forms of generosity there is. We all know something, so why not share it?
Thoughts on the environment: I can't control what others do. But I can control what I do, and I choose to take a small step and do what I can. Maybe my small step will inspire someone else to do the same. I wonder what would happen if 5 or 6 billion people all take a step.
Movie: Amadeus, The Princess Bride, Pretty In Pink, Waking Life, & Stranger Than Fiction
Music: Depeche Mode, U2, Zero 7, Goldfrapp, & Mozart
Hobby: Ice skating, DJ'ing, playing guitar, singing, & dancing with fire (seriously)
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I completed 45 prerequisite hours (for the teaching credential program at SFSU) of participatory in-class observation in a high school. I also have worked with youth at a summer drama program, doing choreography, singing, playing improv games, etc., as well as volunteering for a show cycle with the All Stars Talent Show Network in San Francisco/Oakland, CA.
Thoughts on Teaching: A teacher gives the gifts of inspiration, experience, and knowledge, which are the foods of wisdom and success. A student will flourish when allowed to grow on their own with guidance and care. A good sense of humor is key, too!
Thoughts on the environment: I could go on and on about this, but... Earth is the only home we have, and there are consequences for every action we take while we live here. We are responsible both for ourselves and the billions of species we share our home with. We can change negative actions, and prioritize positive actions. In order of importance: Reduce, then Reuse, then Recycle. Google "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." Then, watch Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour," Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," and Edward Norton's "Strange Days on Planet Earth." Then consider LED light bulbs over fluorescents: mercury is bad, mmmkay.
Movie: Anchorman, Young Frankenstein, Burn After Reading, Dancer In The Dark & Star Wars
Music: Miles Davis, Pedro the Lion, Pantera, Bjork & Thelonious Monk
Hobby: Music, Hiking, Food, Skateboarding & Street Fighter!
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have been teaching one-on-one music lessons for the past 4 years. My students have been all ages from 6 to 30, from different backgrounds and with different needs, and I have learned to adapt my teaching to best serve each student.
Thoughts on Teaching: I never realized how challenging and rewarding teaching could be until I began teaching music. Translating your own experiences and actions into instruction is a unique challenge, and seeing the progress of a student can really make your day. I like to encourage students to ask questions, and make each lesson a dialogue; we learn best when we are actively involved.
Thoughts on the environment: I was lucky to grow up in San Luis Obispo and have access to some of California's most beautiful coastline and mountain hikes. Consequently, the natural beauty of our planet is very dear to me, and I feel that adopting the attitude of treasuring these gifts is step one to stabilizing our relationship with the environment.
Movie: Mulan, Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Identity Thief, Rush Hour, & White Chicks
Music: Maroon 5, Queen, Nickelback, Lady Antebellum, & Taylor Swift
Hobby: Chess, Fixing computers, Surfing the Web, Scrabble, & Cooking
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have worked with youth in after school programs teaching them art, Spanish, cooking and other fun activities.
Thoughts on teaching:
Teaching somebody else so that they can learn something new and excel at it is rewarding and fills my spirit. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to share my knowledge with others that want to learn and grow.
Thoughts on the environment: The environment is a significant part of our everyday life. I do my best to reduce my own carbon footprint and share with others on how they can do the same.
Movie: The Family that Prays, The Notebook, The Blind Side, Dragonheart and The Shawshank Redemption
Music: Fleetwood Mac, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Journey...actually anything from the 80's.
Hobby: Resistance training, tennis, swimming, running, hiking and online video games
Teaching/Mentoring experience: First of all, I‘d like to mention I am the middle child of nine siblings, so I have mentored my younger brothers and sisters through school, sports and life. For three years, I taught elementary kids how to use PC and MAC computers. Currently, I volunteer at a local hospital to offer relief to patients and staff.
Thoughts on teaching:
I believe you should never give up on anything you are trying to learn. Yes, it maybe challenging, but once you figured it out through practice, it will eventually all come together and become clear. "Reach for the moon, because even if you miss you land among the stars."
Thoughts on the environment: If we become more aware about our surroundings and try to limit our carbon footprints then all of us including the next generation will benefit.
Movie: Heat, Forrest Gump, Scarface, & Stripes
Music: Moby, Crystal Method, KLF, & Bee Gees
Hobby: Car Shows, AutoXing, Unicycling, Rollerblading, Hiking, & Movies
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have been involved teaching youth / adult programs for roughly 15 years. It's the fresh faces and challenging students that put a smile on my face each day. In my spare time, when I'm not in the passenger seat teaching ...I'm in my driver's seat at local track events competing or attending performance driving schools keeping up to date on the advancements of car handling techniques.
Thoughts on teaching:
Teaching behind the wheel is a wonderful chance for me to share my experience and passion for driving. It's rewarding to support and encourage people to maximize their potential, develop their skills and improve their confidence, so they can become the driver they want to be.
Thoughts on the environment: The environment to me should be treated like you would your loyal pet. Keep the water and food supply clean, and the air fresh and most importantly take care of it when it's sick. Do this and you'll never have to worry about them turning "Cujo" on you while you're asleep.
Movie: The Wedding Singer, The Hunger Games, Inception, The Illusionist, & Bridesmaids
Music: Rancid, Gym Class Heroes, Sublime, Jason Mraz, & Sara Bareilles
Hobby: Dancing, Cycling, Singing, Zumba, Scrapbooking...
Other Languages: Spanish; a little French and American Sign Language; I am interested in learning more.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I use to work with children that had autism. It was a difficult job, but I learned so much, and the outcome was a rewarding experience.
Thoughts on teaching:
Teachers and teaching mechanisms make significant impacts on the students; so, stay positive.
Thoughts on the environment: To enjoy the world we live in, we must all pitch in to take care of it.
Movie: Pulp Fiction, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, The Godfather, Superbad & Alien
Music: Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Them Crooked Vultures, The Young Guns & The Rolling Stones
Hobby: Drumming, Cinematography, Writing and Hiking
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I worked with kids as a basketball, baseball, and football sports official for the City of Lakewood and I've also lent a hand at the Special Olympics where I helped kids with disabilities learn to play sports. Also, I've volunteered as a football coach for the City of Lakewood Park Leagues. Additionally, I was involved in ROTC and 'Sea Cadet' programs, which are military programs designed to teach kids how to work together as a team to overcome obstacles and build self-confidence.
Thoughts on teaching:
A teacher is someone who has a desire to give their knowledge and experience to someone else. A teacher is someone who cares about the well-being of those they're teaching, and who strives to prepare them for the challenges they will face. Teachers listen to their students, because only the student can show the teacher what it takes to teach them.
Thoughts on the environment: We live in a world that is constantly changing. As our world gets more complicated it becomes important to preserve the simple things in life; a walk on the beach, a hike through the woods, a breath of fresh air. We've been lucky enough to be graced with a world to support us, and now it is our turn to support the world.
Movie: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Iron Man, The Fox and the Hound, The Breakfast Club, & Finding Nemo
Music: The Beatles, Stray Cats, Kristina Train, Tokio Hotel, & Muse
Hobby: I enjoy spending my time volunteering in my community. I am passionate about art and literature.
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: In the last few years, I was able to work alongside educators in the school district, assisting them with in class tutoring. I have always enjoyed helping others learn new things. In the years that I have worked in the classroom, I was able to learn the art of teaching and patience. I am an easy going and fun person who is eager to help students learn.
Thoughts on teaching: I have always felt that the best type of teaching is the type that is filled with laughter. Teaching for me is working together with students, using their own experiences and opinions to understand the best way to reach our goal. When a teacher and student work together, learning is an adventure not a chore.
Thoughts on the environment: We all live on this Planet, so we must all preserve the environment for future generations.
Music: Creedance Clearwater Revival & Bob Dylan
Hobby: Running, hiking, books, and movies.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: For two years I assisted with the Special Olympics program, which was both rewarding and fun.
Thoughts on teaching: When teaching, I think that it is always important to recognize and accommodate each student's specific needs. Getting behind the wheel is exciting, but also a great responsibility. When preparing a student it's important to adapt to the student's learning process, but also keep it fun. Learning anything new is a challenge, so keeping a good sense of humor about it is integral.
Thoughts on the environment: We only have one and we should take care of it.
Movie: The Notebook, Little Miss Sunshine, Legends of the Fall, Hotel Rwanda, Pay it Forward, Saw (from Little Miss Sunshine to Saw??). I could go on, but I won't.
Music: Flight of the Concords
Hobby: Traveling, Rollerblading, Shopping, perezhilton.com (I know, shameful), Movies, Game Nights
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Teaching students to drive is such a rewarding experience. Seeing the look on a student's face when they finally get that turn right or that stop nice and smooth is one of the most satisfying moments in teaching. It's so amazing what can be accomplished within a 2-hour lesson, and at the end the student beams with pride at their behind-the-wheel accomplishments. Sometimes being taught by fantastic teachers is all the experience one needs to be just as fabulous. I've had some pretty incredible teachers in my life – actually I still do. I'm learning something new everyday, and I plan to use those experiences to teach others just as fantastically (yes, fantastically is a word – and kinda' fun to say)!
Thoughts on teaching: When I thought back to the subjects in school that were the most interesting and fun to learn, I realized that it wasn't so much the subjects as it was the teachers. It's amazing what a difference the right kind of teacher can make. Learning should be fun, no matter what the subject. I'd like to be remembered for making learning an exciting and fulfilling experience.
Thoughts on the environment: Have you ever gone for a drive right after a really windy day and thought you were going the wrong way because things didn't look familiar? Then you realized that you're not on the wrong freeway or street, it's just that it's so clear outside that you can actually see a lot farther and things look, well, different? Well, if we don't clean up our acts and begin to cherish our environment, the next generation won't even have that!
How did your lessons go?