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. 

  • Aug. 9, 2022 (Virtual Meeting)
  • Nov. 15, 2022 (Virtual Meeting)
  • Feb. 21, 2023 (Virtual Meeting)
  • May 16, 2023 (Virtual Meeting)


    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: Cindy Taylor                  Phone Number: (984) 236-2937  


    DEAC Sub-Committee Meetings 

    These meetings are held from 10 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. on the dates below. 

    • December   1, 2022 (Program Administration Virtual Committee Meeting)
    • December   6, 2022 (Program Administration Virtual Committee Meeting)
    • December   8, 2022 (Program Administration Virtual Committee Meeting)
    • December 13, 2022 (Program Administration Virtual Committee Meeting)
    • December 15, 2022 (Program Administration Virtual Committee Meeting)

    Join Us 

    To access the DEAC Sub-Committee Meetings use this link to WebEx Meeting 

        Contact: Tonya Easterwood                 Phone Number: (984) 236-2941  

    Driver Education Advisory
    Committee Members

    DEAC Portal Login

    DEAC Members

    Tab/Accordion Item

    Committee Biography

    Dr. Darian Jones, Education Consultant

    Office of Charter Schools 

    North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 

    Dr. Jones has been with the Office of Charter Schools for two years.  



    Carol Ann Hudgens, Section Chief 

    Policy, Monitoring, and Audit Section 

    Exceptional Children Division 

    North Carolina Department of Public Instruction 

    Carol Ann serves as the Section Chief of the Policy, Monitoring, and Audit Section with the Exceptional Children Division at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  She has eleven years in administration experience: two at the school level, four at the district level, five at the state level and has over twenty years in the field of public education.  Her experience also includes school improvement activities at the school and system level.  She is a fellow in the Education Policy Fellowship Program and is also a member of the Results Based Accountability Cross-State Collaborative sponsored by the National Center of Systemic Improvement. 


    Carol Ann earned an Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision, a M.Ed. in Special Education: Mild/Moderate Disabilities, and a B.S. in Elementary Education.  She holds license in the following: School Administrator: Superintendent, School Administrator: Principal, Exceptional Children: General Curriculum (K-12), and Elementary Education (K-6).  

    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.  


    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.  

    Michael Newsome, 

    Driver License Unit 

    North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles 

    Michael Newsome serves as DMV Director at the Division of Motor Vehicles providing management and operational oversight to the Driver Services operations. During his DMV tenure, Michael has been essential to the successful implementation of an array of DMV projects using Six Sigma methodology and by working as a true change agent.  

    Michael previously served 28 years of active military service with the United States Army. During his tenure, he served as Senior Advisor at strategic levels of command. At the rank of Sergeant Major, Michael retired receiving the prestigious US Armed Forces Legion of Merit for exceptional leadership and service achievement. 

    Michael began his subsequent career at the Division of Motor Vehicles as a Driver License Examiner in 2015. Applying his organizational management skill, Michael quicky succeeded in advancement. He is an appointed member to the NC Driver Education Advisory Committee and has served there for the past four years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Organizational Management. 

    Mike is married to the lovely Desiree Newsome and reside at Goldsboro, NC. 


    Committee Member Biography

    Hygan Kapikian, Director 

    Regional Affairs  
    North Carolina Department of Insurance 

    Hygan currently serves as Director of Regional Affairs for the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal.  In her role, she oversees a team of Regional Directors who support all 100 counties.  The Regional Director team provides constituent services, community outreach, and schedules events on behalf of Commissioner Mike Causey and the agency. 


    Hygan has 18 years of experience in the Financial Services industry with emphasis on client management, operations, and staff development. 


    Committee Member Biography

    Dr. Chena Flood, Director

    North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education

    Dr. Flood has served in her current position of Director of the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education from 2010-2013; and from 2018-present. She 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

    Captain Gary Brown, Assistant Director of Field Operations 

    North Carolina State Highway Patrol 

    Law Enforcement 

    Captain Brown currently serves as the Assistant Director of Field Operations for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.  He has 25 years of experience with the State Highway Patrol and was recently promoted to Captain in March of 2022.  He serves as the State Highway Patrol liaison with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, NCDOT, and the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE).  Captain Brown has worked with the National Governor’s Association Rural Route Safety Initiative and the North Carolina Traffic Safety Conference Committee to promote various traffic safety initiatives.  He has extensive training in traffic safety and has been certified as a Drug Recognition Expert, Collision Reconstructionist, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Child Seat Technician Instructor, and has served as a Traffic Safety speaker for countless driver education classes.   

    Captain Brown received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Mount Olive and is currently completing his Master’s in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Thomas School of Business. 


    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
    Natalie O'Brien, Senior Research Associate 
    UNC Highway Safety Research Center

    Natalie currently serves at the Senior Research Associate at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.  Her research focuses on factors that contribute to the high crash rates among teen drivers and identifying effective policies and programs to reduce travel-related deaths and injuries.  She has worked on numerous projects related to graduated driver licensing, such as the role of parental involvement in supervising teen driving, the effectiveness of various graduated driver licensing provisions, and how states can increase their capacity to implement stronger graduated licensing program policies.  Recently, Natalie was the principal investigator for a project funded by the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program to examine the effectiveness of an advanced driver training program.  This is the first project of its kind to employ a randomized controlled trial to evaluate such a program for young drivers in the United States.  Natalie is a member of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Operator Education and Regulation. 


    Natalie received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Alabama. 


    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

    Dr. Kashi Bazemore, Representative 
    North Carolina Parent Teacher Association 

    PTA Representative

    Dr. Bazemore is a trained lawyer, but a passionate educator.  She has taught ELA/SS and served as a school leader in the public traditional, magnet, and charter sectors and currently teaches Middle Grades Humanities at Casa Esperanza Montessori Charter School.  She is the CEO of Added Education Solutions, LLC and trains, coaches, and supports students and teachers throughout the State.  She has served as Vice President of a local PTA committee, the NCPTA Governance and Resource Development Committees, and served on the NCPTA Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She currently serves as the Federal Legislative Chair representing over 74,000 NCPTA members amongst federal lawmakers.  She is the proud parent of two daughters, a UNC Greensboro graduate, and a current Wake County School’s high school student.   

    Dr. Bazemore holds a BS in Language Arts/Social Studies, Master of School Administration, and a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis. 


    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.