Driving Instructors You Can Trust
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, Livescan database verifications, third party drug tests, and, we require that our instructors have all had prior experience working with teens in an educational and/or community service capacity.
To see what we demand from our highly qualified instructors, or to inquire about becoming an instructor yourself, read our instructor requirements here.
How did your lessons go?
The Leader of Our California Crew - Tom Milewski - Operator
With over 15 years' experience behind-the-wheel and in the classroom himself, Tom has personally taught thousands of teenagers how to drive safely in the greater Los Angeles area. Today, Tom puts his extensive driver education experience to good use by training all of Drivers Ed Direct's behind-the-wheel instructors.
When it comes to his thoughts on teaching, Tom shares "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!"
Tom spends over 60 hours training each instructor, with a focus on helping instructors:
- Develop an expert understanding of the California Vehicle Code.
- Develop a mentoring/coaching style of instruction that builds student confidence.
- Always exercise patience, courtesy, and a desire to help the student.
- Conduct themselves in a highly professional manner at all times.
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
Meet All of Our DMV Licensed Driving Instructors
Get to know our crew and learn a little about what makes each of our instructors uniquely qualified:
Movie: 2 Fast 2 Furious, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, The Outsiders & Roll Bounce
Music: Death Cab for Cutie, Silversun Pickups, Muse, Taylor Swift & Depeche Mode
Hobby: In my free time I enjoy baking, hiking and spending as much time with my family.
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I am a hardworking, patient and caring individual who has worked and mentored children and teenagers in different areas of self-development. I've helped create an environment where my students can express themselves freely and provided them early academic support.
Thoughts on teaching: Teaching begins with me. I am a big believer in leading by example, and I enjoy teaching my students that it's ok to make mistakes, but progress comes with taking that mistake and learning from it and moving on.
Thoughts on the environment: Earth is our home, and I'm resolved in developing good habits that allow me to do my part in protecting our environment and it all starts at home with my everyday activities.
Movie: I truly enjoy watching all movies, except horror. Some favorites are Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Lord of the Rings series, & The King's Speech.
Music: Muse, U2, Coldplay, Sia
Hobby: I enjoy gardening as an art. Specifically, I love creating small landscapes using bark, rocks and drought-tolerant plants. I also enjoy being in the deep wilderness: hiking, backpacking, camping, and wildlife watching.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have taught, coached, and mentored in a variety of settings. In the Peace Corps, I brought environmental education to rural populations after graduating from Humboldt State University with a Wildlife Biology Science Degree. I taught group fitness classes for many years, with an emphasis in health and nutrition. I also taught medical massage therapy in a small, private school after practicing massage as a CMT for several years. Most recently, I have been a mentor to my three teenagers. I so thoroughly enjoyed spending those 50 hours with them behind the wheel that I decided to make a career out of it as an instructor with Drivers Ed Direct!
Thoughts on teaching: I believe it is deeply important to always be engaged in learning and the pursuit of personal growth and excellence, not just for one's self, but for others as well. What we experience and come to understand in life ought to be passed on to others with a true intent to help. I believe that a good teacher or leader walks "side-by-side" with their student, experiencing what they experience every step of the way. To impart and share what I have learned in life, especially if it will help another person grow and succeed, is, for me, the meat of life!
Thoughts on the environment: For me personally, the environment was an integral part of my childhood, and all that it embodies – from the largest unscalable peaks, to the tiniest spider that escapes human notice – is deeply valuable. Like a trusted, childhood friend, the environment is something to be profoundly engaged with, respected, cared for, and honored.
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: Marvel Movies, Ocean's Eleven, Superbad, Star Wars, & Samurai X
Music: Kendrick Lamar, Daft Punk, DJ Snake, & Crown City Rockers
Hobby: On my free time, I enjoy playing video games like Tekken, Street Fighter and Smash Bros. I also enjoy video editing, animation, podcasting and tinkering with computers.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: At a previous job, I trained new hires. I am calm and easy going, but also very thorough. Many of my trainees became trainers themselves.
Thoughts on teaching: I find it fun to teach people the things that I know. I also think it's very important that they learn correctly and are efficient and accurate. I try my best to explain things in many different ways so that nothing is misinterpreted and is understandable from any situation. Knowledge is power.
Thoughts on the environment: Save a little bit of the world now so that there's a little bit for someone else in the future. I can't wait for solar power and electric cars to be more a thing.
Movie: Saving Private Ryan, Superbad, Suicide Squad, Harry Potter Film Series, & Schindler's List
Music: Adele, The Weeknd, Coldplay, Kaskade, Above & Beyond
Hobby: When I have some spare time I enjoy hiking, or catching some waves at the beach. I also like to spend my time capturing moments that inspire me.
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Throughout my teaching/mentoring experience, I discovered the key to a successful learning experience is patience. I was able to fully understand this particular concept by working with students K-12, who had different personalities and needs that made them all unique in how they learned and adapted to new things. Working together in discovering what unique strategy works best for each student is always a remarkable journey.
Thoughts on teaching: Teaching or coaching a student should never be an unpleasant journey but rather a mechanism to unlock a student's potential. I have always seen learning as a puzzle where you and the student work together to solve it. Part of teaching is learning how to trust each other, trusting that neither the teacher/coach nor the student gives up on each other.
Thoughts on the environment: When you take away everything that man has created, we are left with beautiful nature. Where you and I live, and conquer our dreams. But to conquer our dreams, our world must be alive and healthy. We can keep it alive and healthy if we help sustain our environment like it helps us achieve our dreams.
Movie: Coming to America, The Hunger Games, The Karate Kid, School Daze & Pulp Fiction
Music: Public Enemy, Common, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest and Hall & Oates
Hobby: I enjoy spending time with my family, watching and coaching football, and editing video.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I love spending my time being productive and learning. I aim to get better at whatever I do each time I perform that task. If I put my name on it I want it to be near flawless. I recently moved to California from Las Vegas, NV where I lived for 7 years. I have 3 sons that I raised as a single parent until I remarried 4 years ago. I volunteered as a youth football coach for 14 seasons and I've also coached high school football. I am currently taking classes to obtain my degree in Special Education and my teaching credential. I am a very patient instructor and I strive to ensure that my students gain the knowledge needed in order to be efficient. When applied properly, that knowledge will be the major contributing factor in leading to their achievement.
Thoughts on teaching: I believe as coaches, teachers, and mentors, we have the ultimate responsibility to shape and build the minds and characters of children through basic instruction and lesson plans. Having such a responsibility requires a full unadulterated commitment that can only be provided by an individual that is passionate about working with the youth.
Thoughts on the environment: Just as you value and take care of your home, the earth should be held in the same regard because it is all of our homes.
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 months 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: The Big Lebowski, Romeo & Juliet, Silver Linings Playbook, Annie Hall & Almost Famous
Music: Adele, Fiona Apple, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin & White Stripes
Hobby: In my free time I love to craft, bike ride, hike, and go to the beach.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have a lot of experience relating to teenagers because I am the mother of a teen. The most experience I have gathered is simply in the day to day dealings of being a mother, guardian, coordinator, coach and teacher. Everyday as a parent you wear each of these hats. I have learned how to best relay information that will be listened to and retained. I know the art of choosing which areas to focus on and how to correct the students without them feeling criticized. I understand that learning to drive can be intimidating and overwhelming for some and I will help them build their confidence and skill equally.
Thoughts on teaching: I am a patient, kind and easy going instructor. I realize the importance of learning the safest and most efficient way to drive. These are learned skills and behaviors that you will carry with you throughout your life. I want students to be knowledgeable, confident and safe drivers for themselves and their passengers.
Thoughts on the environment: I believe if everyone puts forth effort into making our world as healthy and clean as possible, we will all benefit.
Movie: The Fifth Element, Angel-A, Léon: The Professional, Inglourious Basterds & All-Star Superman
Music: Madlib, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, John Coltrane & The Roots
Hobby: I enjoy watching shows, and interviews, and reading articles, books, etc., that engage and reveal the essence of topics and people. Mix in some weightlifting, sneaker blogs, video games, literary and visual art, and good conversation... I'd say that equates to a pretty cool day.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: My most consistent experience teaching/mentoring came when I worked at a special needs school. The student body consisted of elementary, middle, and high-school students. The students had various needs and diagnoses ranging from emotionally disturbed, bipolar, ADHD, and severe learning disabilities. I assisted them in formal education, as well as in enrichment classes. During my time there I further learned how effective sincerity is, whether it was time spent with the little children or teenagers. When you really want to help someone, if you mean it and they know you mean it that is where true refining can begin.
Thoughts on teaching: I believe teaching must possess certain attributes; a quality environment, for example, where students can be encouraged, have fun, and are given room to be expressive and learn from their mistakes. This type of atmosphere allows the student to relax so that the lesson may be well received and acted upon. The teacher and student are both learning and doing the lesson together.
Thoughts on the environment: Our environment is one of the most majestic things on the earth, from the sounds of thunder and rainfall to the scent of wildflowers. It is here to support us and teach us many things. It contains elements of life and death and life again. We see time through its seasons, and taste the food of its rich ground. It is a mother and a father to us, demanding respect, nurturing, hot, cold, deep, tall, wide, and hot and cold again. It shows us the consequences of being irresponsible. We must honor it with our actions.
Movie: Forest Gump, Nacho Libre, Ruby Sparks, The Outsiders & Little Miss Sunshine
Music: Arctic Monkeys, La Santa Cecilia, Lo Blondo, James Bay & Saint Motel
Hobby: In my free time I love going on hikes with friends, visiting botanical gardens and trying out new foods.
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: At a young age, I would volunteer to teach others. I recently worked as an English tutor. I helped the students reach their goals, which were to learn the rules of the language and practice using it in everyday life. Currently, I am studying to work with children with special needs. Therefore, I occasionally visit schools to observe and learn from the professionals and students on how to mentor these children.
Thoughts on teaching: I love learning new things and you always will learn something new when you teach. In addition, I believe teaching should be made fun and enjoyable for the student. That way both parties have a great experience!
Thoughts on the environment: We only get one planet Earth. We should do everything we can to keep it clean and healthy.
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: Star Wars, Top Gun, Man on Fire & Inception
Music: Blink-182, Silverstein, Flosstradamus & UZ
Hobby: I am always listening to music in whatever I do. I enjoy hiking around the canyons. In my free time I like to help out on film sets, seeing a project come together is pretty exciting.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: As a teenager I was involved in the BSA and was a leader amongst my peers. I was in charge of organizing events, camp outs, and merit badge instruction. As an adult I worked for an after school program through my county's sheriff's department. I helped elementary, jr. high and high school kids with their homework, school projects or came up with activities for them to do while waiting to be picked up from school.
Thoughts on teaching: I've learned a lot from mentors, teachers, or instructors I've had myself. I feel I have a lot of knowledge to pass on to others, doing so in fun relaxed way. Being able to teach someone something new is always a feel good experience because I know how it is to be in the student's seat.
Thoughts on the environment: I love all animals and wildlife. It's sad how many animals and forests have gone extinct over the years. If we all do our part equally and try to live better ourselves, I believe we can create a better environment.
Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo, Stardust, El Dorado, The Usual Suspects, 24 & G.O.T.
Music: Mutemath, Andy Hunter, Calvin Harris, Muse, Ellie Goulding & Switchfoot
Hobby: I just can't get enough of Ultimate Frisbee during the summer, and I'll read anything by Jim Butcher. I also enjoy my FPS and RPG games on PS4, and every now and then I tinker around with clay and claim it's a ceramics project.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Since High School, I have spent many years volunteering at the local youth center near my home in the Bay Area. At this center, my mentor once told me that a true Teacher/Mentor is a treasure hunter. Their job is to find gold buried within someone and dig it up. So as cheesy as it may sound, I believe everyone has gold within them, and by that I mean something unique and special to that person that is worth discovering.
Thoughts on teaching: Driving is a privilege and bestows responsibility. As an instructor with Drivers Ed Direct, I aim to set students up for success with a safe and constructive environment in which to train. I am very down to earth, and I teach how I like to be taught, with respect.
Thoughts on the environment: During my lifetime, I would like to see a city completely powered by clean energy. I know we still have a long road ahead, but I believe the future of our planet depends on the choices we make over the next 100 years.
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: Lord of the Rings, Saving Private Ryan, Star Wars, The Matrix, & Gladiator
Music: Muse, The Beatles, Tupac, Guns N' Roses, & Beyoncé
Hobby: In my free time I enjoy swimming, Xbox Live, training, reading, sports, and poker.
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I have a positive and easy going personality, which helps play a role with mentoring others.
During my experience with being a lifeguard, and swim instructor, I've learned patience to be one of the key approaches to take.
Thoughts on teaching: Everyone learns, and everyone is different on how to process information. I make things easy for you to process.
Thoughts on the environment: If we all clean up the small things, it helps the long term things stay clean.
Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Moulin Rouge, School of Rock, Big Fish & Young Frankenstein
Music: The Beatles, Oingo Boingo, Queen, Harry Belafonte & The Coasters
Hobby: In my free time I enjoy playing board games (especially Clue), going to the lanes to bowl and try to get a perfect 300, "thrifting" to see how much I can get out of my cheap budget, and expressing my creativity through multiple media (anywhere from drawing to Photoshopping).
Other Languages: American Sign Language
Teaching/Mentoring experience: Being a student of honors classes and too many college classes to count, I have been inspired by many of my great teachers to pursue teaching as a career so I began tutoring Math to high school students the second I had an opportunity to do so. Also growing up with a LAUSD teacher as a mother I have been going to her middle school class to volunteer as an aid to help during class and for the afterschool program whenever I have the chance.
Thoughts on teaching: I understand that there are different types of learners out there—those that are visual, those that are auditory, and those that learn best hands-on—and I strive to figure out which way to best appeal to a developing mind no matter the type they are because if there is a will there definitely is a way and I am always willing to teach what I know.
Thoughts on the environment: I like to live by a motto my elementary-aged self made up many ages ago: "Don't be a quitter and pick up your litter!" Nothing hurts more than seeing people trash the planet that gives them everything necessary to live.
Movie: Jurassic Park, Transformers, Casablanca, I Am Legend & Cinema Paradiso
Music: Linkin Park, Frank Sinatra, Jack Johnson, Bob Marley & Rage Against The Machine
Hobby: In my free time I like to go hiking or heading out to the beach, also working on cars.
Other Languages: Spanish
Teaching/Mentoring experience: For the past few years I have been doing community service for a non-profit organization. I have also been a teacher's aide, helping younger kids with math.
Thoughts on teaching: I believe that you must share your knowledge with the world so everyone can grow and progress.
Thoughts on the environment: I think humanity as a whole has to put effort to preserve our planet earth, so future generations can enjoy this world.
Movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Tombstone, Dazed and Confused, Pulp Fiction & Trainspotting
Music: Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Hobby: Cycling, mountain biking, tennis, golf, photography & building model cars
Other Languages: Spanish, learning Armenian
Teaching/Mentoring experience: As a teen, I spent some time as a counselor at a summer day camp. During college, I tutored students in a variety of subjects.
Thoughts on teaching: There is something special about teaching--to be there when a student finally "gets it" is a truly gratifying experience; it honors me to be a part of that process.
Thoughts on the environment: We only have one Earth; we should do our best to take care of it so future generations can enjoy all it has to offer.
Movie: Titanic, Fast and Furious, The Pursuit of Happyness, & Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Music: Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Shakira, & Mariah Carey
Hobby: In my free time I enjoy tinkering with cars, exercise, trying new foods and traveling the world.
Other Languages: Armenian
Teaching/Mentoring experience: I used to train volunteers that would donate their time to the elderly living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Also, I used to coach my little brother's soccer team.
Thoughts on teaching: I believe that people learn best when they are in a happy and comfortable environment. Therefore I prefer a more relaxed teaching style where we slow down to a pace that is ideal for the individual. A bit of guidance, patience and explanation gets the job done.
Thoughts on the environment: I feel that we all hold an important responsibility in preserving our environment. There are many little things we can change in our daily lives that will go a long way for the future well-being of our planet.
How did your lessons go?