Meet Your Instructor

All of our Instructors are DMV licensed and bonded, but we go far beyond minimum requirements. Each Instructor is trained according to our internal Training Program developed over our years of experience, with continuous review at regular staff meetings and during training conferences with the Driving School Association of California. Many schools have just a few Instructors; we are proud of our experienced and dedicated team whose commitment is to provide you with skills to last a lifetime.


Dan has devoted over 35 years to teaching precision driving, from European racetracks to California teenagers, from evaluating the driving abilities of seniors to winning a racing class championship. His background combines a Marketing degree and career in finance with a deep passion for driving to set very high standards as the Owner and Chief Instructor of the driving schools. Dan also volunteers for the Tire Rack Street Survival® teen driving program and does track instructing for the BMW Car Club. Dan primarily uses an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, but he also rotates through several cars in our fleet to keep them up to our standards.


With over 40 years of experience as a Physical Therapist, Penny is devoted to creating new possibilities for people with physical disabilities. As a Driving Rehab Specialist for more than 10 years, she has focused on training disabled drivers with a wide variety of special needs as part of the Sharp Healthcare network. Penny is DMV-licensed through American Driving School and teaches in both a Buick Park Avenue (with hand controls and a left-foot accelerator) and a new minivan equipped with 3 styles of hand controls and a wheelchair ramp.


Larry has a proud 30-year history as a driving instructor. He developed and managed the full program for Sears Driving Schools when they started up decades ago. His students feel very safe as he provides thorough driver training, clearly showing his vast experience. Larry is very friendly while taking his role seriously, preparing his students well to develop lifelong skills and confidently pass their DMV test. Larry teaches weekdays and weekends in a 53 mpg Toyota Hybrid throughout East County.


Alex is a second-generation Instructor whose mother has been teaching drivers for over 40 years. He absorbed a lot of her skill and dedication over the years and loves helping new drivers to gain confidence behind the wheel. Alex works great with people due to his prior career working in high-end hotels. Alex is also a professional skateboard instructor. He teaches in both East County and the coastal areas, and drives a 38 mpg Toyota Corolla.


After his career as a teacher for the San Diego Unified School district, Vic retired and decided to join our School. Part of his background was teaching Drivers Education, back when it was offered in the public school system, and he missed interacting with new drivers and helping them to learn some of the most important skills in their life. Vic is one of our most-requested Instructors due to his calm and pleasant style, and he focuses on drivers over 18. He uses a comfortable and spacious Hyundai Sonata. 


As a second-generation Instructor, Rocco admired his father Vic, who originally began
teaching when Driver Training was offered in high school. Rocco is a graduate of our Driver’s Education classes and Driver Training program, glad to share what he learned then with brand new drivers now. He teaches part-time in East County while earning his BS degree in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences at SDSU. We’re happy to have an Instructor with a recent memory of the exhilaration of learning to drive. 


Jim has spent over 20 years as an Instructor, developing a versatile approach to teaching drivers with widely different needs. His vast experience is appreciated by hundreds of students each year. He understands the special requirements of senior drivers and people with special needs, providing patient instruction throughout San Diego County for seniors, teens and disabled drivers. Jim teaches in an efficient Toyota Corolla.


Coleen is trained as a Driving Rehab Specialist for teaching disabled drivers, providing them with new skills to bring mobility and freedom back into their lives. As an Occupational Therapist, Colleen works with drivers from 16 to those in senior years, and also many combat-wounded veterans. With her DMV license at American Driving School and association with Sharp Healthcare, Coleen teaches in both a Buick Park Avenue (with hand controls and a removable left- foot accelerator) and a new minivan equipped with hand controls and wheelchair access.


Luke is a native Californian who enjoyed teaching drivers how to master a manual transmission long before he made this his career. Talk about patience! He is an auto enthusiast who has worked at dealerships and auto parts stores, with an excellent customer service background. He really enjoys interacting with new drivers and their parents, and he lives and works in East County. Luke is very popular with students as he teaches in a 54 mpg Hyundai Hybrid from our Green Teen fleet.


Mark is a veteran of 28 years with the Jim Russell Racing School, from mechanic to Chief
Instructor to Operations Manager. He has won several racing championships and has done lots of stunt driving work for TV, though he promises not to use these skills during driving lessons! In addition to teaching hundreds of new drivers for us in North County, Mark still volunteers with an advanced teen driving program. He also spends several days each year conducting new vehicle introductions for major manufacturers, exposing dealers and consumers to the latest performance cars. His calm approach is much appreciated by his students as they learn in a 53 mpg Toyota Hybrid.


Our Business Office is open weekdays from 9-5 to answer questions, schedule lesson appointments for all Instructors, and process credit card payments.  Our Office staff includes Office Manager Karen Rhoades and Assistant Office Manager Lauren Fields who provide helpful support to our Driving School clients, and they are ready for your call.

American Driving School, 760.736.8288,
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