LADA DRIVER SCHOOL, LLC
- 3510 N. Oakland Ave., Suite 204
- Shorewood, WI 53211
Educating Safe Drivers at Lada Driver School
For most of us, learning to drive and getting a license is an important milestone in life. Lada Driver School LLC has made that happen for thousands of teens and adults since the school opened in Shorewood almost 15 years ago. Currently their training programs include teen, adult, and truck driving.
For founder and owner Arkadiy Tsirlin, a driving school was a perfect fit for his background. Arkadiy is an engineer mechanic with more than 30 years experience in engines, automobiles and trucks, as well as teaching car and truck driving. When he immigrated in 1991 to the U.S. from Minsk, Belarus (the former Soviet Republic), Shorewood’s ethnic diversity, including a Russian-speaking community, attracted him to the Village.
Arkadiy called his school Lada, the name of a Russian car. Since its opening in 1996, Lada has grown in respect and popularity. In a typical year, the school has about 300 teenage and 150 adult students, and over the years has trained about 7,500 drivers. The majority of Lada’s teen enrollment comes from the Shorewood area. Lada’s classroom facilities are just two blocks away from Shorewood High School, but sometimes for student convenience, classrooms are rented inside the school.
Ozlem Eren, manager and controller, in charge of the financial side of the business, recently earned a doctorate in economics from UWM. In addition to her financial role, she creates and updates the Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) training curriculum, manages the hire and training of the instructors, and makes sure that the school is in compliance with state laws. Lada’s standards are high. “We like to work with professionals, especially educators, and most have at least a bachelor’s degree,” Ozlem says. ”Before we submit their application to the Department of Transportation for approval, they go through rigorous training, a medical exam, background check and a drug test.”
While students are always eager to get out on the road and start driving solo, Ozlem advises aspiring young drivers and their parents to be patient. “Although the minimum age to get an instruction permit is 15 ½ years, there is a six-month waiting period after the permit date before the student can get a driver’s license. Today, teenagers under age 18 must be enrolled in an approved, behind-the-wheel driving school. The driving portion of the course can begin only after the student gets an instruction permit,” she explains.
Arkadiy has driven many places in Milwaukee, but Shorewood feels like home. “It’s an excellent place for students to learn because the Village has good traffic lights, well-marked intersections, parking lots for practice and the police department is aware of our school. Shorewood is a very safe community because everyone follows the rules. We feel comfortable here.”
Lada also owns a second location at 5200 W. Mill Rd., opened in 2003 to respond to the huge demand for truck-driver training. The success of Lada schools has given Arkadiy an even broader vision. In the near future, he hopes to add motorcycle training and a complete course for mechanics to the Lada programs.