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Michelle R. | Recent Graduate

"We are very happy...and have already referred it to several friends.

Steve and I are glad we made the decision to invest (the extra time and money) in this program.  Especially living in a place like Los Angeles, where teens are often thrust onto city and freeway driving early on.  

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All our coaches undergo Department of Justice Background checks and have successfully completed our rigorous driving coach apprenticeship. Our master trainer and owner Russ Shuster, a former Senior Driving Coach at Mercedes-Benz, utilizes the Mercedes-Benz approach to getting the student driver to make sound and critical driving decisions. We are building important life-skills.

In addition to sanitizing the cars and keeping them well ventilated, we have our coaches get tested regularly for Covid-19.

About The Driving Academy

Driver's Education Environment

Although navigating our roads has become more challenging than ever, Driver Education & Training in the state of California has remained largely unchanged since the 1960s. The state mandates only 6 hours of professional driver training for a new driver to get behind the wheel, however, a manicurist is required to take 500 hours of training to become certified. The Driving Academy goes beyond industry standards to help your teen obtain their license and also build life skills along the way.

The Driving Academy is a DMV certified teen driving school specializing in driver education and training in Los Angeles & Ventura County. By utilizing a coaching methodology and internationally recognized techniques your teen will develop confidence, critical decision making skills, and accept personal responsibility. The learner driver will become a better decision maker long after graduation.

We have the most expert and experienced driving coaches in the industry.

Our Academy offers a unique combination of services, including:

  • Targeted behind-the-wheel lessons focusing on freeway, canyon, nighttime and distracted driving

  • Unique Integrated Driver Education and behind-the-wheel training

  • Free home or school pickup or drop off from home or school for all lessons within our service area

Our Driving Coaches

Russ Shuster

Owner and Senior Driving Coach

Russ SchusterI have had a successful 25-year career in both the driving school and Defensive Driving Industry. I have been responsible for helping to develop driving programs and curricula for a few major driving schools here in the Los Angeles area - including the Mercedes Benz Driving Academy. In addition, I have personally coached several thousand beginner and more experienced drivers over my career making them safer and better decision makers behind the wheel.

During my latest stint as a Senior Driving Coach and Operator, for the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, I worked with Product Innovation to help further develop and integrate international coaching techniques here in the United States. I cannot believe how much coaching enhances the learner drivers' self-confidence and develops key decision- making skills. The learner driver progresses so much more effectively when utilizing coaching versus instruction.

At The Driving Academy, I maintain that high standard of unique driver training to help my students develop decision making skills behind the wheel. In addition, I have almost 15 years experience as a Defensive Driving Coach for the California Department of Risk and Insurance Management (ORIM). I have developed fleet driver safety curricula for ORIM responsible for making state employees safer drivers.

I  also coach Defensive Driving and perform driver safety evaluations at several state agencies such as CHP, The Department of Justice and various California State Universities. Finally, I regularly hold Fleet Safety Training workshops for the training staff at the California Department of Transportation's headquarters in Sacramento.  

Read testimonials from my former students to see what they have to say.


John Mueller

Driving Coach

I have over 18 years of experience teaching/coaching thousands of teenagers, safe driving skills that will last a lifetime.

I grew up with motorcycles. A few years later I started teaching motorcycle safety. I started my teaching career as a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Certified Instructor.  I also taught Motor officers.

I then became a Certified Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy Driving Coach. This methodology helps the student driver enhance their decision-making abilities in critical situations. This is because the student self-evaluates situations and determines the safest options themselves. This technique gives the student a sense of responsibility that comes with driving.


Tom Milewski

Driving Coach

Tom Milewski literally wrote the book on LA Driver's Ed. As the driving school operator and instructor trainer at a major LA Driving School since its inception in 2005, he helped write the manual that is still used to this day to train driving instructors throughout Southern California. 

Now, Tom is one of the Owners and is a Senior Driving Coach at The Driving Academy and brings with him nearly two decades and 20,000 hours of experience. Having both taught driving for many years and grown up in Los Angeles, Tom has developed unparalleled insight into the unique challenges of Los Angeles driving. 

His fun-loving and entertaining style has made him one of the most sought after instructors in the business. He's taught nervous drivers looking to gain confidence, first-time-behind-the-wheel motorists, drivers transitioning to the United States, and paparazzi-plagued celebrities. He's even taught four out of five of his own children to drive-a feat many parents can appreciate.

Tom's hobbies include surfing, basketball, softball, theater films, comedy, and coaching high school athletics.



Raul served in the army and was even deployed in Afghanistan. After getting a college degree, Raul became a driving instructor and had conducted several hundred driving lessons prior to coming onboard with The Driving Academy. In fact, one of The Driving Academy Owner's had previously trained Raul for several months a few years ago at another driving school. Therefore, we knew that he had the character, ability and communication skills to become an effective driving coach. Like all our coaches, we put Raul through a rigorous coaching apprenticeship to transition him from instructor to coach. Raul is amazed how much coaching gets the student to figure things out on their own and how much it helps to gain their confidence! Raul really enjoys the critical thinking aspect of the coaching methodology. He also enjoys using illustrations to introduce and discuss concepts and unique driving situations.

Raul is very even keel. He is super patient and supportive and he can handle any type of student in any type of driving environment. He recently told a student that was nervous and asking tons of "what if" questions about the drive test and Raul said, " When I was in the plane flying for my first tour of duty to Afghanistan, the soldiers were asking a lot of "what if" questions. The Sargent said, "Don't overthink it. You've been trained so you will do the right thing when the situation arises." Raul takes this approach. The students describe Raul as being "super chill". Raul gets a lot of requests and referrals.


Xochitl: (so-CHEE)

After graduating from Cal State Los Angeles, Xochitl wanted to do something socially responsible. She has worked other jobs, while in college, that involved social interaction but did not really involve any opportunity to make a difference. Xochitl's outgoing personality, creativity and intelligence made her a standout in our coaching apprenticeship. She is always challenging herself to be the best she can be.

Xochitl is an excellent communicator. She has an aptitude for getting the student to recognize their driving mistakes and how to fix them going forward. She also thoroughly prepares for each lesson. Finally, Xochitl has a relaxed demeanor in the car and does not freak out when the student driver makes a mistake. Xochitl gets a lot of requests and referrals.



Adam was a musical theatre major from Ithaca college and has performed in many different musicals. In addition, he has taught English one-on-one to Chinese children several hours a day. For the past few years, he has been an actor and a stuntman on Ballers and Quantico. Adam has done standup comedy so he has a fun outgoing personality and relates well to teens.

Adam was a natural in our intense 100 plus hour coaching apprenticeship. He picked-up the concepts quickly and really enjoys and appreciates getting the students to figure things out on their own. Adam said, "some directors also use more of a coaching approach on the set so that the actors can take ownership" so he has had first-hand experience with our coaching philosophy.

Adam gets a lot of requests and referrals.