Welcome! Open for Drives and Tests. Check out our summer classes! **Adult drive schedule very busy - up to 3-4 weeks for first lesson.

Our Staff


General Manager/Instructor/Examiner

Brook Ashinay is the General Manager and Lead Instructor at Safety First Driving School. He is also a Lead Tester and Trainer, licensed and certified by the State of Washington. Brook obtained his driving instructor certificate while pursuing his Bachelor of Science degree in Safety and Health Management with a minor in Business Administration from Central Washington University. It was after he received his degree he realized how fascinated he was by the attitudes, values, and risk behaviors of his fellow drivers. Because he also worked on various projects studying the learning patterns of different personalities and age groups, Brook was able to quickly apply the theoretical knowledge to practical life creating a positive atmosphere for learning and connecting almost immediately with his students.


Lead Administrator

Susan Grayce has a BA in Communications and enjoys working with new drivers of all ages. A former classroom teacher who now focuses on the business of Safety First Driving School, Susan misses the kids in class, the behind-the-wheel lessons, and working downtown with new drivers.

With more than four years experience teaching defensive driving techniques to teen drivers for the National Safety Council, she is well-versed on the subject of student drivers and how to teach them good driving habits.


Lead Scheduler/Marketing

Jennifer Shelepet is usually the first person you meet at Safety First Driving School. She answers your questions on the phone and via the web and helps with scheduling when you need it. With a teen at home, Jennifer is well suited to Safety First and understands better than most the challenges that come when working with teens. With degrees in International Studies and Economics and more then ten years experience with providing customer service, Jennifer is the professional calm as teens are running in and out of our office. You'll find Jennifer at our Shoreline office Monday through Friday.



Kelsey Pharris is our in-house Marketing expert. She designs our on-line ads and helps us understand marketing trends in the Seattle area. With multiple degrees in marketing and on-line assistance, we go to Kelsey first with any questions. Kelsey enjoys the admin side of the business as in getting to know the students in the classes and the adults learning to drive. What she likes most is to see how happy people are after a drive or a successful test. .


Instructor/Examiner/Sr. Administrator

Aberra Adera has been a teacher throughout his life. He acquired his Master of Science degree in Forestry Education from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. His world-wide travels make him an open and accessible individual able to communicate with anyone. His unique talent for employing effective teaching strategies is evident in his ability to engage students and foster a fun and thriving learning environment.

Aberra has been a certified driving instructor for the last twelve years. His teaching expertise is apparent as he explains complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. He is calm on the road and his trusting demeanor allows him to build relationships with his students. He is also bilingual and works with others who speak multiple languages.



Laura Flair is all about helping people develop their own confidence in learning to drive. She has been driving since she was a teen and has had opportunities to drive vehicles of all shapes and sizes. She is incredibly calm and patient in the vehicle with respect for and ability to adapt to every learning style; she is very well liked by our teen and adult students. With a BA in Liberal Studies and a licensed massage therapist, Laura is well versed and very well suited to helping others.



Leyu Ashinay drives from our Shoreline location and offers early morning and late evening drives to accomodate any schedule. Leyu is excellent with first time drivers; he helps them explore the car showing how it will respond to them as he teaches them how to control it. Having lived abroad, Leyu excells in comparing driving environments for new drivers from other countries.


Classroom Teacher/Instructor/Knowledge Examiner

Herman teaches the teen course and Behind-the-Wheel lessons at our Shoreline location and teaches adults from downtown. Herman has degrees from the Art Institute of Seattle and the School of Visual Concepts in addition to more than twenty-five years experience as a corporate IT guy.

Specifically with the teens, Herman believes it all comes together in the car when he shows them how the "classroom stuff" plays out in real life. Watching his students combine information to become competent and confident drivers, working with their parents to improve each teen's ability to drive, and finally, passing them off to testers at Safety First so they can get their first license -- this is the payoff for Herman and it is why he truly enjoys teaching teens to drive.

For all of his students, Herman enjoys the challenge of learning new names and faces and is always happy when they test well.


Classroom Teacher

Paula always wanted to be a teacher but it wasn’t until she was studying for her teaching degree that she realized what she really wanted to be was a Driving Instructor! With a family background steeped in car culture, she decided to combine the two and has enjoyed her driving instructor lifestyle ever since. Paula has travelled quite a bit; driving the pacific coast, discovering Canada and Mexico as well as having driven across the country a couple of times.

Because of her car culture background, Paula brings a unique perspective to her classroom. She appreciates the history and freedom a car can bring while sharing her respect for the immense power and responsibility that can come with such freedom. She is an exceptional communicator. She offers personal driving information and good stories along with the tools for safe driving and is liked by her students for her honesty and humor.



John Lange has been driving and teaching on Seattle roads for a very long time. With over twenty years at the Seattle School District – and teaching Driver’s Ed as long as the program was offered – combined with teaching at both Sear’s Driving School and Munro’s Driving School, he could probably describe any local intersection by memory. While with the District, John taught the drama class! So, he’s not a shy instructor and his technique is (obviously) engaging, interactive, humorous, and instructive. His students respect and listen to him which makes the teaching and the learning so much easier.



Berhanu Ashinay loves being an Instructor at Safety First Driving School. Berhanu has a degree from Seattle Central Community College but is really drawn to the individual relationships he is able to create while teaching someone to drive.

Berhanu is always busy teaching and testing adults from our Shoreline location. He spends his day either teaching the basics of driving or testing to see how well he taught the basics of driving!

Berhanu understands how excited and nervous new drivers can be, no matter their age. His patience, friendly demeanor and positive attitude help calm every student driver he comes in contact with. He enjoys being there when a student reveals they finally feel comfortable learning how to drive.



Dawit Ashinay also has a degree in the medical field, and also prefers the personal daily interaction of teaching safe driving to others. Dawit teaches and tests teens and adults from our Lake City Way location.

When he teaches lessons, Dawit includes classroom information to help new drivers learn the basics of safe driving. While navigating through busy one-way streets, pedestrian-heavy areas, and hilly intersections, Dawit is able to connect with each new driver to help them learn and apply safe driving techniques.



Carmen Rawlings is all about sharing. A certified medical specialist AND a certified driving instructor, Carmen teaches adults from our Lake City Way office and from downtown.

Carmen is a talker who is very easy to get along with. She is patient and calm and enjoys meeting new people and showing them all things local. She discovered that she really likes teaching new drivers because most haven’t developed bad habits yet! Without any bad habits to start, Carmen's students learn the safest way to traverse congested city streets and become confident city drivers.


Office Staff

Abebe Abebe is our Accountant. Abebe is well educated with accounting degrees from Central Washington University. With over ten years experience as an accountant/bookkeeper,and more than five years with Safety First, Abebe is a true professional.


Office Staff/Instructor/Knowledge Examiner

Eskedar Tilahun is a certified Instructor and DOL Knowledge Examiner and part-time Office Assistant! Eskedar is certified to administer the Knowledge test at either our Shoreline or Lake City Way office.

Eskedar has over ten years of experience in customer service and over three years with Safety First.