For the safety of our students and their families, all Driving Instructors, who are licensed by the State of Ohio, are required by the Ohio Department of Public Safety to undergo background checks and fingerprinting each year.
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Enfield, CT
Education: Kent State University (Education and Mathematics)
Cassandra (she/her) was born and raised in Enfield, Connecticut, where she finished her primary education. At sixteen, she procured her driver's license and discovered the possibilities of the open road. After graduating high school, Cassandra made the decision to go to college out of state. She was accepted at Kent State University, where she majored in education and minored in mathematics.
Wanting to develop more skills as an educator, Cassandra learned how to organize, corroborate, and engage with students to further their needs. Her passion for teaching expanded further as she tutored students with math-related learning disabilities.
After college, Cassandra worked a variety of different jobs in the customer service field. Throughout that time, she worked to hone her customer service skills and build lasting relationships with colleagues and customers alike. After working in the customer service world, she decided to combine her passion for education, and her enjoyment of being behind the wheel to become a Driving Instructor.
Being able to educate our students and build those relationships is one of the best parts of Cassandra's job! She looks forward to each lesson she has with a student, as it gives her the ability to not only make sure they are safe and respectful drivers but also to build a relationship that they will be able to remember for a lifetime.
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Hoytville, OH
Education: University of Findlay (English/Creative Writing); Mccomb High School
Jack (he/him) is a dad, first and foremost, and a Cleveland transplant by way of Northwest Ohio. Growing up with miles of cornfields between towns made for a great childhood, but also created a strong desire for the freedom that comes with having a driver license. Jack has always loved driving and often prefers taking the scenic route, both on the road and in life.
Young Jack wanted to be an author, a vet, a teacher, a dad, and probably many other things. He decided to go to college for creative writing after high school, but quickly realized that wasn’t the right fit and went to work instead. In 2011, Jack landed in Cleveland, and since then, he’s worn many professional hats: content writer, event marketer, background screener, assistant manager, behavior technician, “chip guy” (at Frito-Lay), and even a stint on the Titanic (at a museum exhibit, of course)!
Life’s curveballs eventually led him into a remote writing role that suited the demands of his new solo-parent life, but it didn’t offer a sense of fulfillment or the opportunity to affect real change. As the search for purpose continued, Safe Pass entered the picture. Finally, here was something where Jack could combine his passion for helping others and making a difference with his unique ability to connect with teens and young adults.
Jack joined Safe Pass as much for the community and safe space as for the potential to change lives and educate others. He is a trans* man and an advocate for his fellow LGBTQIA+community members, as well as all other marginalized communities and individuals. He believes in humanity, love, and kindness, and lives to be a safe space for all who may need it.
Jack is also a lover of puns, wordplay, and dad jokes (naturally). In his free time, he enjoys relaxing at home with his dogs and spending time with family, both given and chosen. While he may have never anticipated “Driving Instructor” to be a potential career, Jack is elated to have found his place and eager to help students from all walks of life gain the confidence and skills they need to navigate the often-questionable Cleveland traffic (and the rest of the roads they may travel).
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Education: Hiram College (Environmental Studies an Sociology)
Chase (he/they) was adopted from Ukraine and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. At the age of 16, he earned his driver’s license to get to and from marching band or stage crew with St. Edward High School. He then went to Hiram College and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sociology. After college, Chase moved to Hartville, Ohio to pursue a career in wildlife education working for Stark Parks. Due to the pandemic, he later moved back to Cleveland to work various jobs in the animal care industry including as a vet assistant and then a manager at a dog daycare facility. After the sudden loss of a beloved pet, Chase wanted to pursue something different. Although animals seemed to be his passion, he found true excitement in making connections through education and learning from others. So, when a friend sent him an article on Safe Pass, he knew he had to check it out!
Their interests include: horseback riding, painting, beach combing, animals (especially birds), tattoos, mushroom hunting, and traveling. When Chase is not teaching he’s running his small business or hanging out with his three cats and partner.
Teaching the future in any occupation is a noble trade. Teaching people how to drive better is imperative to everyone on and around the road. Safety comes first, and they're a firm believer in the motto “it takes a village”. When it comes to driving, we're all neighbors!
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Belmont, OH
Education: West Virginia University (Masters in Secondary Education and Social Studies)
Liam (he/him) spent his early years doing a little bit of everything. He worked for a zoo during high school, spent summers doing field work on his family’s Christmas tree farm, participated in the Boy Scouts of America, and even managed to find time to accidentally get accepted to college.
After graduating with his Masters in Secondary Education from WVU, Liam took up countless substituting jobs with many Cleveland schools, although at times he often referred to this occupation as being an “Educational Mercenary.” What followed in 2021 was a brief time as a Shipping and Receiving clerk for a local manufacturing company and then an extended time working on his family’s Christmas Tree Farm as a crew foreman. Liam and his partner have finally found a place to call home and he has found a place where he can easily combine his love of cars and driving with his strong passion for teaching and education.
When he isn’t in a car with students, he enjoys playing folk music, model building, car restoration, hiking, tabletop gaming, fortune telling, collecting strange musical instruments, amusing friends with photos of baby animals, and binging audio books at an honestly alarming rate. Since nobody asked his favorite cryptid-creature is the Jackelope.
Liam looks forward to helping students develop safe driving skills and an understanding of the responsibilities of having a license as he begins this chapter of his life.
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Smithville, OH
Education: Wayne College (Associate of Science), The University of Akron (AYA Integrated Mathematics)
Melissa (she/they) has wanted to be a teacher since she was old enough to answer the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question (barring a short-lived desire to be a forensic pathologist). They were a member of Future Teachers of America and The National Honor Society in addition to taking post-secondary classes as a senior in high school.
But sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, and education was put on hold when she started a family. Since then, they have worked in various customer service related jobs, factories, and delivery driving as well as spending nearly a decade as a stay-at-home parent. With their children getting older, she decided it was finally time to return to the work force.
So why a Driving Instructor? As a parent of three (two of them teenagers), Melissa is very familiar with the challenges adults can face in teaching the children in their lives the ins and outs of being behind the wheel. She saw an opportunity to make a difference while putting her extensive experience with children and education background to good use with both teens and adults.
In their free time, Melissa enjoys going to the gym, reading, playing video games, and spending time with her family and houseplants.
Role: Driving Instructor
Hometown: Duluth, MN
Education: Grinnell College (Music and Spanish)
Amanda (she/her), a recent transplant to the greater Cleveland area, grew up in Duluth, MN, four blocks from the shores of Lake Superior. After graduating high school, she attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, studying music and Spanish. She moved back to Duluth for a few years, but then relocated to Des Moines, IA where she lived until mid 2020 before moving to Cleveland.
Amanda is very happy to be living on the shores of a Great Lake once again! Her partner still lives in Iowa so she goes back to visit him frequently, and does her best to not criticize his driving or the angle he leaves the tires when he parks her car…
Additionally, Amanda truly loves being a member of the Safe Pass company and community – after knowing no one at all when she moved here, the security and friendships she has formed with Safe Pass at the center of her bubble has been one of the greatest things about her move to Northeast Ohio – after the Lake, of course.
Unable to attend driver education classes as a teenager, Amanda faced some anxiety about learning how to drive as a young adult, but finally accomplished that task at the age of 23 and has greatly valued the responsibility and freedom being able to drive has offered ever since. One of her favorite things about being a driving instructor is helping students facing similar anxieties about driving realize their capabilities and strengths through practiced technique and confidence earned through experience.
Prior to moving to Cleveland, Amanda worked as an analyst at a bank, as a medical receptionist, as an insurance agent, and before joining the Safe Pass team at the end of 2021 she was a stay-at-home-mom to her young son for three years. (She is very thankful that she still has 11.5 years to go before he’ll be old enough for his learners permit.)
Due to her own experiences in learning how to drive, and strong belief in the value of contributing positively to one’s local community to the best of one’s ability, Amanda is passionate about helping instill in her students the knowledge, skills, and first steps of confidence required in becoming a safe, responsible, and caring driver...even in the myriad of weather conditions and windy roads that Cleveland offers. (Her love of snow also helps.)
Role: Maker of Magic and Co-Owner; Not an Instructor but an Instructor Supporter!
Hometown: Mayfield Heights, OH
Education: Mayfield High School; Ashland University (Bachelor of Arts in Religion); Bowling Green State University (Master of Arts in College Student Personnel)
Kristen (she/her) was born and raised in Mayfield Heights and is happy to have settled in Lyndhurst with her partner, Max. The longer she lives here, the more she comes to appreciate all that Cleveland has to offer. She and Max are both excited to be a bigger part of the local community by bringing safe and reliable driver training to the east side of Cleveland.
Kristen has hopped around in different fields -- from majoring in Religious Studies at Ashland University to getting her Masters in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University and spending four years working in higher education and student affairs to finally settling in the non-profit sector. She has been fortunate to serve the families at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland since November 2014.
Over the past five years, Kristen has watched Max become more and more excited and passionate about driver education and particularly about the students they teach. She is beyond thrilled to join them in this passion and to use their combined strengths to have a positive impact on the greater Cleveland community through Safe Pass.
Find out more about Kristen's experience here!
Role: Driving Instructor, Training Manager, and Co-Owner
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Places Lived: Staten Island, NY; Scranton, PA; Putney, VT; Gunnison, CO; Mayfield Heights, OH; Lyndhurst, OH
Education: Staten Island Technical High School; The University of Scranton (Bachelor of Arts in English and History); Jones International University (Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership and Administration)
Max (Max is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.) has this radical idea that driver eduction is about more than simply passing a driving test. For them, driver education is about changing lives, one lesson at a time.
It’s about empowering a person to stand independently while helping them to recognize that their choices have a real and measurable impact on the folx around them.
It’s about helping someone to find the confidence and comfort to get behind the wheel so they can get to school, get to work, provide for their family, embark on an adventure, or simply feel a sense of freedom that only comes with a license.
Whatever a student’s reason may be, Max is happy and honored to take this journey with them!
Since 2016, Max has served thousands of students in their role as Driving Instructor, and they were no stranger to education before that, having served in student development roles at colleges and universities across the country. In that time, they gained specialized training and experience in working with students of many different learning profiles, including those with learning differences, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
It was at a university in Colorado that they met their partner, Kristen, and they both decided to make the move to Cleveland, where Kristen has spent most of her life.
Shortly after settling in on the East Side and taking a position in student development at a local college, Max looked for a part time gig, searching for a way to continue working with students, to continue helping people to help themselves in impactful ways.
And the rest…is Safe Pass history!
Max loves working with their students and partnering with them to achieve both safety and success every time they get behind the wheel.
They are a strong proponent of BLACK RIGHTS, TRANS AND NONBINARY RIGHTS, QUEER RIGHTS, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS, BODILY AUTONOMY, HUMAN RIGHTS, equity and equality, the safety and support of the Jewish folx in our community, mental healthcare, the idea that everyone learns differently, and a belief in the general kindness and goodness of others.
Their interests include good food, tattoos, piercings, animals (especially cats), reading, all things Broadway, live music, campfires, *all* the pizza, and navigating the world in wonderfully neurodivergent ways!
Max also gives a special shout out to the incredible Safe Pass team! Kristen, Cassandra, Amanda, Melissa, Chase, Jack, and Liam round out this amazing group with their dedication to safe driving, genuine compassion for our students, and the desire and ability to tackle any obstacles that come their way.
Find out more about Max's experience here!
Past Team Members
Safe Pass Driving School
5035 Mayfield Road – Suite 107
Lyndhurst, OH 44124
(Located in The Hilltop Building - Park in the rear of the building, and look for the green curtains!)
Proudly serving the communities of the Greater Cleveland area and beyond!
🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 And we take special PRIDE in serving our BIPOC, Trans, Queer, Jewish, and Neurodiverse students and their families! 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈
Many thanks to The Buckeye Flame for helping us to reach our students in most need of a safe and affirming space to learn and to realize their driving dreams!
Safe Pass Mission Statement
To provide education in safe motor vehicle operation in a safe, affirming, and supportive environment; to promote confidence, independence, compassion, and empathy in our students; to fundamentally change the way that drivers in the greater Cleveland area think about and use turn signals; to build lasting relationships with students, their families, and the communities we serve.
Safe Pass Driving School is insured and bonded according to the State of Ohio Revised Code.
Driver training schools are licensed by the Department of Public Safety through the Ohio Driver Training Program Office located at:
1970 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223.
1970 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223.
Changing lives...one lesson at a time.