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Get to know our instructors

Jeffrey Benes

Jeffrey is a middle school social studies teacher. He has been a schoolteacher since 1998 and is currently teaching American History. He has coached in the past and is currently busy with school gardening.

While Jeffrey is newer to teaching driver’s education, he is not new to teaching or time behind the wheel. He drove a Humvee while he served in Iraq and used his GI Bill to become a certified driver’s education instructor. What he enjoys most about teaching driver’s education is that the students really want to learn and improve themselves. “They want to be here; they want to do well, and they are willing to listen.”

Jeffrey’s tip to new drivers – Always be aware of the situation. When behind the wheel, things change quickly, so always be scanning.

Vanessa Fernandez

Vanessa is a Library Media Specialist in the Blue Valley School District. She has been an educator for 27 years and previously taught 7th-12th grade English before transitioning to her current role. She also coaches track, is an assistant director for the school play and editor of the yearbook. She enjoys reading, riding her motorcycle and exercising.

Vanessa has been teaching driver’s education for 8 years. She enjoys teaching driver’s education because she gets to work with a variety of individuals as they learn to drive.

Vanessa’s tip to new drivers – Practice. Driving in different situations and weather will increase your chances of being a safe and experienced driver.

Samantha Jahn

Samantha is a 6th grade math and ancient history teacher. In her free time, she helps run an after-school tutoring program for underserved youth and fosters deaf and/or blind dogs through Speak Rescue and Sanctuary.

Sam started teaching driver’s education after learning about the program from her friend and fellow instructor Vanessa Fernandez. Sam has been teaching driver’s education since 2020. She enjoys teaching driver’s education because she misses working with high school-age students and likes having the opportunity to teach them something they really want to learn.

Sam’s tip to new drivers – Practice is the only way to improve, so get out there and practice, practice, practice!

Jim Oatman

Jim is a full-time instructor at Van Horn High School, where he teaches construction trades and woodworking. He has over 35 years of teaching experience and has taught a wide range of subjects, including welding, automotive, computer-aided drafting and more. He also has a great deal of experience coaching youth sports, including more than 20 years as a high school girls basketball coach.

Jim decided to teach driver’s education when he was a college student. He has taught the subject for more than 35 years and still enjoys it. He is most proud that he has never had an accident or citation after all these years. He enjoys working with parents and students to help them develop a pathway for their student’s driving success.

Jim’s tip to new drivers – Repetition, repetition, repetition! Driving is a life skill; it takes practice and lots of it. Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle you will learn something new, and your skills will improve.

Kim Rehagen

Kim is a middle school computer teacher. She has taught for more than 35 years. In addition to teaching, she coaches basketball and track.

Kim started teaching driver’s education when her daughters started learning how to drive and she saw a need for quality instruction. She has taught driver’s education for more than 8 years now and enjoys watching students gain confidence to handle the vehicle all by themselves.

Kim’s tip to new drivers – Get behind the wheel as much as you can and become a personal chauffeur for your parents. 

Kathy Sawyer

Kathy is a 7th grade math and social studies teacher. She enjoys all sports and has coached volleyball, girls basketball, track and softball. She also enjoys watching her children play competitive baseball.

Kathy has been teaching driver’s education since 2017. What she enjoys most is helping young drivers learn the life skill of driving. 

Kathy’s tip to new drivers – Practice as much as possible. The best thing you can do to become a strong driver is to practice, practice, practice.

Joshua Smith

Josh is a Program Director of Business Solutions at Johnson County Community College. He has also taught business courses at JCCC for more than 15 years. He has more than 10 years of experience as a ski and snowboard instructor. He enjoys traveling and has visited more than 45 national parks.

Josh was inspired to become a driver’s education instructor in 2020 while his oldest son was learning to drive. He enjoys teaching driver’s education because he gets to help students safely navigate the challenges of the road while building their confidence behind the wheel.

Josh’s tip to new drivers – Always leave yourself “an out” in case danger presents itself, and always anticipate other drivers’ moves.

Spencer Webb

Spencer is the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Baker University and a physical education instructor. He enjoys playing golf, fishing and traveling with his family.

Some of Spencer’s favorite teachers got him interested in teaching driver’s education, and he has been doing so for more than 7 years. He enjoys teaching driver’s education because he can build relationships with all of his students and help them learn a very important life skill.

Spencer’s tip to new drivers – Practice, practice, practice.