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 diverse team whose commitment is to provide you with skills that will last a lifetime.
DAN TACKETT - PRINCIPAL INSTRUCTOR
Dan has devoted over 25 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 of the driving schools. Dan is the primary teacher of our Drivers Education classroom and also volunteers as Chief Instructor for the Tire Rack Street Survival® teen driving program and for the BMW Car Club. Dan's students get to learn their driving skills in a BMW 330i, probably the only BMW used for Driver Training in the San Diego area.
PENNY ANDERS - DRIVING REHAB SPECIALIST
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.
Lyn enjoys teaching driving skills to people of all ages. Her love for driving spans 30 years, including managing a driving school office over 20 years ago. For Lyn, driver education is part of her family: her husband is a high school teacher with a driver’s education credential, and she is currently teaching two of her own teenage sons. Her passion is to help others to achieve their highest potential in their driving skills. Lyn instructs mostly in the inland North County in a 2009 Toyota Camry from our Green Teen fleet.
With Instructing experience going back to 2006, Robert has developed a very calm and patient teaching style that is appreciated by his Students and their parents alike. He knows many parts of San Diego County well, but specializes in East County and the South Bay areas. Robert drives a modern 2012 Ford Focus with our "Green Teen Driving Machine" graphics that is rated for a very green 38 mpg.
Tom has a strong background in Information Technology in addition to his passion for good driving. He has worked for major telecom companies and taught college-age students, still owning an IT consulting business. He also loves driving, with racetrack experience and exposure to the best drivers in the world on the German Autobahn. Tom volunteers as a coach for new teen drivers with the Tire Rack Street Survival® program. He uses a Volkswagen Jetta turbodiesel from our Green Teen fleet, the 2009 Green Car of the Year.
Vic has a long history of teaching teenagers the finer points of safe driving. As a high school history teacher, he also taught Drivers Education back when it was offered in the high school curriculum. After driving was removed from high schools, he maintained his interest in new drivers by working for driving schools in the summertime. Now retired from teaching, Vic's experience with teenagers brings a calm and friendly approach to every lesson as "Mr. G." He teaches in a 2013 Dodge Dart, a very modern car with an Italian chassis and American style.
Jim has spent his many years as an Instructor developing a versatile approach to teaching drivers with widely different needs. As our in-house expert on disabled driver training, Jim's mid-sized 2013 Dodge Dart is equipped with removable hand controls. He understands the special requirements of senior drivers, providing patient instruction throughout San Diego County for seniors, teens and disabled drivers. Jim also teaches some of our Drivers Education classes.
Originally from the Buffalo New York area, Michael has many years of experience driving in snowy, inclement weather conditions. He has completed High Performance Driving Schools as well as working for Mercedes Benz driving high performance cars on closed circuits. Michael’s automotive knowledge and a love for driving in sunshine or snow come out in every lesson. His devoted following in North County brings lots of new Students who request Michael for his friendly and encouraging approach. He also instructs for advanced car control clinics, and teaches in a 2010 Hyundai Sonata from our Green Teen fleet during driver training lessons.
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, Dana 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.
CRISTIAN (CHRIS) MICLEA
Cris was born in Romania, but he has lived in California for years and got his BA degree at San Francisco State University. He speaks several languages and has a background in real estate and information technology. He has taught driving to friends and family members for years, and currently is also is a licensed instructor for a Traffic Violator School. Cris has a very friendly personality, a good sense of humor, and teaches in a spacious 2010 Hyundai Sonata from our Green Teen fleet.
As the original founder of the American Driving School, Rick's vast experience as a professional instructor spans 30 years. He has personally instructed thousands of teenagers, plus commercial drivers of tractor-trailers, busses, passenger vans and limousines. Rick has developed programs for seniors and disabled drivers and currently manages our fleet driver training. He has taught Traffic Violator classes and Drivers Education, and is Board Member for training of the Driving School Association of California. Rick uses a Honda Civic or actual fleet vehicles during driving lessons.
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 Lauren Fields who provide helpful support to our Driving School clients, and they are ready for your call.