About Us

Melanie Plummer


As the owner of Driving School of Florida, I think it’s Important for anyone that considers being trained by our company to understand that the overall motivating principal for our school is Defensive Driving. This practice motivates drivers to maintain a high level of situational awareness in an ever-changing driving environment.

The accident/crash statistics that surround driving (especially young/new/inexperienced teenagers) in the United States is staggeringly high! We find this unacceptable and do everything we can to help our students appreciate that driving safely is no accident. These results are achievable by any driver, but it is something that is only achievable by proactive adherence to our Defensive Driving Recipe that each student receives at the beginning of their training.

I personally have over 7 years working as a certified driving instructor and certified state Class E Driver License Examiner. I, and my instructors, approach every student with patience and kindness, focusing on safety above anything else. We enjoy working with students of all ages, including students with disabilities. We work together as a team to teach in a way that is best for each individual student and their needs. Our mission is to help make our roads safer, one student at a time, and thereby making everyone on the roadways the beneficiary of that safe driving! We train your drivers as if they were our own personal family members.


Jose Terriquez

82nd Airborne Combat Veteran now driving instructor! This world is full of drivers who are unsafe and don’t know it, you will not be one of them. You will be a confident and safe driver with just a few lessons. Safe and calm atmosphere to help you learn and understand the most important rules of the road! In my year of experience, I have helped new drivers, drivers who have a license and need better understanding of rules and drivers with disabilities. So don’t be nervous or afraid because I can help you! Together we will respect the road, not fear it.


Katie Calderon

Hi I’m Katie! I’m an instructor for the Driving School of Florida. I am easy going and I love soccer. I would enjoy helping you learn defensive driving techniques so you can be confident driving anywhere. I hope that we can work together soon.


Jim Cohen

Hello everyone, I am Jim Cohen, here at Driving School of Florida and I am a professional driving instructor. My role as an Instructor is to make sure you are the best driver, the best defensive driver, and above all to help save lives. I am a Certified Driving Instructor with over 10 years driving experience in teaching people how to drive. I am a Military veteran, who has received many achievements and certifications as well as extensive training in motor vehicle defensive driving school and using US Army driving motor vehicle skills.

I really enjoy teaching students how to drive safely. I have remarkable compassion and am extremely patient, giving clear and easy instructions with extensive knowledge of all current motor vehicle laws and regulations. Remember, it is not only a fun driving lesson it is a driving experience. See you behind the wheel! Take care and drive safely!


Robert Miller

My name is Robert Miller and I am a retired Manatee County Sheriff’s Deputy. I am skilled in DIP protective driving from the Federal Marshals, pursuit driving, defensive driving, and tactical driving. I have years of driving instructor experience including instructor training. I have lived in Manatee County all my life. I am passionate about teaching the right way to drive so our roads are safer for everyone.


Cortland Simmons

My name is Cortland Simmons. I am from McKenzie, Tennessee and pretty much grew up there! I grew up watching my grandfather work on cars since I was 11 years old. I have a passion for cars and how they work. I am thoroughly skilled with the ins and outs of a vehicle that I like to pass on to my students! I’ve been teaching people how to drive for close to 4 years now! Teaching people the proper ways of driving has become a passion of mine. since moving to Florida. Can’t wait to work with you!


Mark Paxton

skills as a FL certified Driving Instructor/Examiner for 3 years. Previously I have worked as an EMT and in Law Enforcement for 15 years. I have taken numerous advanced driving classes/courses. While serving as a Deputy Sheriff, I was certified as a Field Training Officer and a General Instructor through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This had me teaching rookie police/deputies how to conduct emergency vehicle operations, pursuit driving and defensive driving. Additionally I spent 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a Master-at-Arms (Military Police).

I have a large passion for helping teens and adults of all ages to become safe, defensive and confident drivers. At 6’2″ and a little over 300lbs, I sometimes come off as scary upon first impression, but the students quickly learn I am a big teddy bear and am very patient. Even when you make mistakes. I look forward to us working together to make you the very best and safest driver you can be