Driver Education Advisory Committee

The North Carolina Driver Education Advisory Committee (DEAC) advises and recommends to the State Board of Education how to implement the North Carolina Driver Education Strategic Plan and other issues related to driver education and traffic safety:

  • Advises and confers on matters pertaining to the establishment of rules necessary to carry out the duties of the Driver Education Program and the implementation of the North Carolina Driver Education Strategic Plan.
  • Reviews and updates guidelines for the operation of the Driver Education Program.
  • Promotes the positive effects of the Graduated Driver Licensing Program.
  • Fosters partnerships with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles including testing, instructor training, driving school regulations and related protocol.
  • Provides a communication channel between driver education and stakeholders.
  • Stimulates public awareness of driver education needs and contributions.
  • Serves as an advocate of driver education.
  • Influences driver education support through appropriate channels.
  • Lends credibility to driver education programs.

DEAC Meetings 

These meetings are held from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M. on the dates below. 

  • August 15, 2023
  • November 28, 2023
  • February 20, 2024
  • May 21, 2024

Join Us 

To access the Drive Education Advisory Meetings online, use this link to WebEx Meeting Watch previous meeting recordings on the Driver Education Advisory Committee Channel.

Link to access the DEAC Meeting Agenda

Contact: Karl Logan
Phone Number: (984) 236-2938
Meet on Webex

Driver Education Advisory 
Committee Members

DEAC Portal Login

DEAC Members

Tab/Accordion Items

Committee Biography

Sherri Vernelson, Section Chief 

Sensory Support and Assistive Technology

Office of Exceptional Children 

North Carolina DPI

Sherri serves as the Section Chief of the Sensory Support and Assistive Technology Section with the Office of Exceptional Children at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Sherri has twenty-six years of experience in education with three years of private school experience, ten years of public-school experience, and thirteen years at the State level. She is also a fellow in the Education Policy Fellowship Program. Sherri earned an M.Ed., in Special Education, a B.S. in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and an A.A. degree in Elementary Education. She holds a current NC teaching license in Deaf and Hard of Hearing (K-12) and Birth to Kindergarten.

Kevin Harrison, Section Chief 

Transportation Services Section 

District Operations Division 

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 

Kevin serves as the Section Chief for the Transportation Services Section at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and has been part of the Department for 16 years. He provides extensive knowledge in school bus transportation, vehicle safety, transportation policy, funding, and school bus and student safety.  

Dr. Brandi Gill, Stakeholder Support Lead

Office of Charter Schools

North Carolina DPI

Dr. Gill currently serves as an Educational Consultant with the Office of Charter Schools at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She has twenty-four years in education including being a principal within the Wake County School district. She has three children who successfully completed driver education and believes traffic safety is an essential partnership between instructors and parents to ensure safety for all on the road.

She received her Doctoral of Student Educational Leadership and Administration from Fayetteville State University.

Committee Member Biography

Paul Dlouhy

School Bus & Traffic Safety Unit 

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles 

Paul currently serves as a manager for the School Bus & Traffic Safety Unit. He primarily manages the training and certification of school bus drivers for North Carolina Public Schools. The School Bus & Traffic Safety Unit also provides certification and oversight for the nearly 100 commercial driving schools in the state of North Carolina, and partners with the Department of Public Instruction and local to provide technical support, issuance of restricted instruction permits to students in the driver education program, and safety programs.

Daniel Carter, Safety Planning Engineer 
Highway Safety Improvement Program 

North Carolina Department of Transportation 

Daniel is a Safety Project Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He serves in the safety planning group where he uses safety analysis methods to inform NCDOT project priorities and alternatives. 

Prior to his role at NCDOT, Mr. Carter spent 15 years as a Highway Safety Researcher at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. During his years in research, he used his civil engineering background to address highway safety from the standpoint of infrastructure improvements. His research experience includes the areas of roadway and safety data, countermeasure evaluation, and pedestrian safety. Mr. Carter holds a master’s degree in civil engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina. 

Dr. Cheryl Leonard, Assistant Director (Chair) 

Governor’s Highway Safety Program 

North Carolina Department of Transportation 

Dr. Leonard serves as Assistant Director of External Affairs working to reduce traffic deaths and injuries through the planning and execution of innovative traffic safety initiatives. She oversees state-wide programs which aim to eliminate preventable roadway deaths and injuries by supporting grants and safe driving initiatives, such as Click It or Ticket, BikeSafe NC, Booze It & Lose It, Watch For Me NC, Speed a Little Lose a Lot, Rural Roads Initiative and North Carolinas Vision Zero Initiative, Teen Dream Teams, to name a few.   

In her earlier career as a highway specialist, she served on state and national committees effecting policy changes for traffic concerns with the National Sheriff’s Association as well as state committees focusing on the older and teen driver.  Dr. Leonard has over 30 plus years’ experience working in both local and state government agencies in the fields of emergency and public health services, transportation, and highway safety.     

Dr. Leonard holds a BA degree in Political Science with a concentration in Criminal Justice, Master of Public Administration in Personnel Administration, and a PhD in Public Policy and Administration.  

Tonya Faulkner, Regional Chief Examiner 

Driver Services/Driver License Unit 

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles 

Ms. Faulkner has been with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles since 2014. She has held the positions of Examiner, District Manager, Staff Development Coordinator, and now Chief Examiner of the Western District. She is graduate of Central Piedmont Community College and Queens University in Charlotte. She has a master’s degree from High Point University.

Committee Member Biography

Marcia Kelly, Director 

Regional Affairs  
North Carolina Department of Insurance 

Marcia has been in the insurance industry for thirty years in both the private and public sectors and has been employed with the NC Department of Insurance for seventeen years. Before becoming the Director of Regional Affairs, she was the Coastal Southeast Regional Director. Prior to becoming the Regional Director, she was the Outreach Coordinator for the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program at the Department of Insurance. As a Regional Director, Ms. Kelly educates the public on insurance and safety issues. Ms. Kelly has a BA degree in Communications and Public Relations from UNC-Wilmington.


Committee Member Biography

Bobby Dixon 


North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education

Bobby currently serves as the Director of Non-Public Education. Before joining the DOA, he served 25 years in public education, working in North Carolina schools from elementary to high school. During this time, he enjoyed serving in various capacities including testing coordinator, classroom teacher, assistant principal, compliance officer, and principal. Most recently, Bobby served as the founding principal of Chatham School of Science & Engineering, an early college high school in Chatham County. Bobby is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees. He collaborates with the Department of Public Instruction to provide support in providing traffic safety education to all public and home school students. The Division of Non-Public Education issues driver eligibility certificates to all eligible Non-Public schools in the state.

Committee Member Biography

Lieutenant Kenley H. Russell 

Field Operations 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol 

Law Enforcement

Lieutenant Russell currently serves as the Assistant Director of Field Operations for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. He has 24 years of experience with the State Highway Patrol. He serves as the State Highway Patrol liaison with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, NCDOT, Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE), and NC Operation Lifesaver Board of Directors. Lieutenant Russell has worked with the North Carolina Traffic Safety Committee to promote various traffic safety initiatives. He has extensive experience in traffic safety and enforcement of private and commercial motor vehicle traffic to include conducting numerous Traffic Safety Presentations for local schools, civic organizations, and industry over his 24-year career. Lieutenant Russell has also held certifications through the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in the safety inspection of CMV drivers and vehicles transporting passengers, bulk goods, and hazardous materials.

Lieutenant Russell received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from East Carolina University and graduated from the 72nd Session of North Carolina State University’s Administrative Officers Management Program (A.O.M.P.).

Committee Biography
Devin Tanner,  
North Carolina Driver & Traffic Safety Association (NCDTSEA) 

Devin currently serves as the NCDTSEA President, a professional traffic safety association which provides leadership and support to North Carolina teachers and education of traffic safety professionals. 


He was a high school educator for twelve years teaching Driver Education, Physical Education/Health, and Earth Science.  Currently, he is the Driver Education Coordinator for Wake County Schools which serves nearly 15,000 students annually. 


Committee Biography

Chad Aharon, Driver Education Coordinator 

Alamance-Burlington Schools 

In-House Programs 

Chad currently serves as the Driver Education Coordinator for Alamance-Burlington Schools and taught social studies for 18 years until accepting his current position in July 2021.   He also served for 10 years as a distance learning educator for North Carolina Virtual Public Schools.  His commitment as a driver educator has been a rewarding career and he recently taught a second-generation student. 

Chad received his B.A. in Adolescence Education from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh in 2003 and his M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction Technology from Grand Canyon University in 2006.

Asim McGill, Director of Student Involvement 

Martin County Schools 

In-House Programs 

Asim currently serves as the Director of Family and Student Involvement for Martin County Schools.  He is a twenty-one-year educator and has been certified to teach driver education for ten years.  As a driver educator, he has taught several students who were the first member of their family to obtain a North Carolina driver license making a lifetime impact.   

Asim received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from North Carolina Central University in 2001 and his Master of School Administration from East Carolina University in 2010.  


Committee Members Biography

Eddie Jordan, Owner 

Jordan Driving School of the Carolinas   
Commercial Schools 

Eddie is the owner and operator of Jordan Driving School of the Carolinas.  He served as a high school teacher and school administrator for Craven County Schools for seven years before joining the Jordan Driving School Raleigh staff in 2000.  After eight years of working with JDS Raleigh, he formed Jordan Driving School of Carolinas which is the current contractor for eight school districts in North Carolina.  His company is committed to upholding the highest quality of standards which has enabled JDS Carolinas to effectively serve the driver education community in the public and private sectors of North Carolina.  He is a member of the North Carolina Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association and the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.   

Eddie received his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from East Carolina University in 1992 and his Master of Education in Administrative Education from Campbell University in 1997. 

Craig Uzzell, Owner  
A+ Driving School 
Commercial Schools  

Craig currently serves as the Operations Coordinator with Wayne County Public Schools where he has served twenty-seven years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and currently leads the Operations Department.  Considering the decreasing public-school driver education teaching staffs, he saw the need to open A+ Driving School.  The company was formed in 2011, and since that time has contracted with the Wayne County Public School System.  A+ Driving School’s goal is to continue the high standards of traffic safety education for the district’s teens using only local teaching professionals. 


He received his Bachelor of Physical Education, as well as, Safety and Driver Education, and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from East Carolina University.  


Committee Member Biography

Bevan Kirley 

UNC Highway Safety Research Center

Bevan Kirley, M.S. is a Senior Research Associate at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center. Ms. Kirley’s experience and expertise focus on the behavior side of transportation safety with a particular focus on motorcyclist safety, occupant protection, and young driver safety. Her work in the young driver field primarily focuses on the role of parents during the supervised driving phase of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). Ms. Kirley has a M.S. in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Committee Member Biography

Kelly Hatcher, Executive Director 

Child Fatality Task Force 

Kella Hatcher, JD, has been the Executive Director of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force since 2015. In this role, she works on a range of policy issues that impact child health and safety, including issues related to motor vehicle safety. She has worked closely with experts and leaders in motor vehicle safety and currently serves on the Occupant Protection Task Force and the Impaired Driving Task Force for the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.  

Kella received her law degree from the University of North Carolina and her undergraduate degree in professional writing from Purdue University. 


Committee Member Biography
Ebone’ Baker, At-Large Director, Guilford County 
North Carolina Parent Teacher Association 
PTA Representative 
Ebone’ has worked with the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association for five years, with a 
focus on the organization’s DEI efforts for the past 2 years before joining the Board of Directors. 
As a member of the Board, she works with the Education Committee on initiatives that enhance 
the educational opportunities for the children of North Carolina. She also serves as the Vice 
President of the Guilford County Council of PTAs. Ebone’ holds a degree in Computer Network 
Systems and is currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer Information Technology. She has over 
15 years of experience in providing technology-based consulting services for small businesses 
and not-for-profit organizations. 

Committee Member Biography

Owen Darrah, Senior High School Student 

Holly Springs High School 

Student Representative 

Owen is a rising senior at Holly Springs High School who received his full provisional license in March 2022.  After completing the driver education program, Owen completed the B.R.A.K.E.S. defensive driving program to further his safety and traffic knowledge.  He is interested in politics, government operations, and military service.