Experienced driving instructors turn the key on new school

A new driving school opened in Kennewick, offering instruction and Department of Licensing testing from three professionals with a combined 20 years of experience in traffic safety, teaching and education.

Top-Notch Driving School at 1350 N. Louisiana St., Suite E, opened over the summer by a mother-son duo, Myel and Steven Nundahl, who previously worked at another local driving school. Steven’s wife Kaylea is a co-owner.

“I started doing it 10 years ago as a part-time gig in addition to working other positions,” Myel said. “About four years ago my son came in, and it just kind of became a passion for him. Right away he said he wanted to buy the business if there was ever the chance.”

When their hopes of going from employees to owners fell through at the school they were working for, the pair didn’t give up on the dream.

“My son said, ‘Mom, will you come with me?’ And I said ‘Yeah, of course.’ So, we just started on this journey,” Myel said.

Their lead instructor is a former co-worker, Pam Homer.

“When Steven was talking about purchasing it, Pam had said, ‘I will go with you, whatever you do,’ ” Myel said. “So, she came with us. Pam’s very knowledgeable and entertaining and has been in transportation for over 30 years.”

Top-Notch offers classes for teens who are getting a driver’s license for the first time.

It also offers adult refresher courses for those who want to brush up on their skills, or are mandated by the court system to do so. These classes are “quick teaching that doesn’t have you in a classroom with teenagers,” Myel said.

The school near Costco also offers basic DOL-certified testing on a walk-in basis since the service is no longer offered by the DOL. Testing must be done at a private location with certified state examiners and prices can vary.

Teen classes cost $450 for six weeks of classroom instruction and include five practical drives for learning skills on the road.

“I feel like our fees are reasonable within the area,” Myel said.

Top-Notch students are offered a discount on taking their DOL knowledge or skills tests, commonly referred to as the “written” or “driving” tests.

The school also provides the option of private lessons from a certified instructor.

The Nundahls chose the location in a Kennewick strip mall for its central location.

The fourth class of students is currently in session at Top-Notch, which expects to top out at 25 students per class eventually.

“It’s nice having small classes right now because we’re getting to know the kids,” Myel said. “We’re having fun with it. I totally believe we’ll get busier as it goes.”

Top-Notch Driving School: topnotchdrivingkennewick.com; 509-737-4001; @topnotchdrivingschoolkennewick.

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