Wheeler Elementary OMA Information
Message from our OMA Teachers

Juan J. Aguirre
He made his professional debut with Arizona Opera Company in 1997 and has since performed around the world in places such as Mexico, Honduras, and Hungary.  Opera roles under his belt include Sarastro (Magic Flute), Pooh-bah (The Mikado), Seneca (The Coronation of Poppea) and Fr. Laurent (Romeo et Juliette).  In Classical music he has worked with world- renowned directors/coaches/singers such as Tito Capobianco, Richard Miller, and legendary bass, Jerome Hines.  

A regular on musical theatre stages as well, he has interpreted roles such as Javert (Les Miserables), Capt. Von Trapp (Sound of Music) and Caiphas (Jesus Christ Superstar). Equally versed in popular music, he has performs regularly in concerts throughout Mexico and the US.  He is the bass singer for country/gospel male quartet, The Presidio Boys, and for The 4GENTS, a renowned doo-wop vocal group.

Off stage, Juan can be seen/heard on national television and radio as a bilingual actor and voice over artist, as well as having appeared in a few feature films. When not performing  he enjoys stage directing, teaching  private voice, and using Opera to teach Language Arts in TUSD’s award winning program Opening Minds through the Arts (O.M.A).

OMA Honor Choir Director

Kimberly Chaffin (soprano),
She is originally from Colorado, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance, and graduated with her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona.  Mrs. Chaffin has performed many solos with local arts organizations and many operatic roles as well. Mrs. Chaffin has also performed leading roles in musical theater productions with Arts Express including Follow the StarA Christmas Carol, and The Secret Garden. Kimberly has been singing in the Arizona Opera Chorus for the past 15 years and she is an Opera Teaching Artist in the OMA Program (Opening Minds through the Arts). Kimberly has been teaching first grade students in the OMA Program since 2002, and she loves to share her passion for this art form and teach students of all ages! 

Gregg Reynolds
Gregg Reynolds is the accompanist for the OMA Opera Team East.  He has played piano and organ from an early age and also plays harp.  He is a church musician for St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Francis de Sales Catholic churches.  He loves working with his team members Kimberly Chaffin and Juan Aguirre and is proud to be a part of the OMA program.  He looks forward to teaching many more first graders in TUSD schools!

Diana Schaible
Originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, Ms. Diana Schaible is a dedicated OMA teaching artist and performer on classical flute and guitar. While those are her two main instruments, she also thoroughly enjoys teaching students of all ages on ukulele, violin, recorder, bass guitar, and Irish flute. Ms. Schaible received a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the University of Idaho in 2011, and received her Master's degree in Music Performance at UArizona in 2013. Ms. Schaible has won prizes at several music festivals throughout the United States, and has performed internationally in Canada, Ireland, and Mexico. She also frequently performs in local venues such as the Arizona Senior Academy, SaddleBrooke Concert Hall, Fred Fox School of Music, Centennial Hall, and plays for the Healing Arts Program at Tucson Medical Center. Ms. Schaible has been sharing her passion for music education for almost a decade, teaching at various music academies in Tucson, as well as maintaining a private teaching studio. Ms. Schaible is immensely excited about the opportunity to share her love of music through TUSD’s Opening Minds Through the Arts program, and wishes her  students and families a safe and healthy school year! 

4th/5th Orchestra
José Leonardi Moore, DMA

Dr. José Leonardi Moore, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has served as a violinist and violist in many orchestras such as The Akron Symphony, Akron Baroque, Cleveland Opera Circle, Tuscarawas Philharmonic, Warren Philharmonic, Puerto Rico Symphony and Puerto Rico Philharmonic orchestras, among others.

He currently teaches violin, viola, cello and piano using the Suzuki and Traditional Methods and is the director of orchestras at five schools in TUSD. Dr. Moore is also a member of the Tucson Symphony, Sierra Vista Symphony and the Tucson Pops Orchestra. He also serves as Co-Concertmaster of the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and is the first violinist of the Sheherazade String Quartet.

Dr. Moore earned his Bachelors of Music Performance degree from the Puerto Rico Conservatory where he studied with Dr. Francisco Cabán, Dara Morales and Henry Hutchinson. He also holds a Masters degree in Music Performance from The University of Akron in Ohio, where he studied violin and viola with Prof. Alan Bodman, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona where he was teaching assistant to Prof. Mark Rush.


OMA (Opening Minds through the Arts) is an arts-integrated program to support student achievement in reading, writing, math and social studies. An arts-infused curriculum has been developed for each grade level which is currently linked to State Standards in these subject areas. Community artists (instrumentalists, opera singers, dancers) work in collaboration with classroom teachers and OMA Arts Integration Specialists to design and execute lessons which support and extend learning through arts integration.


Wheeler is an OMA Gold School! We are one of 22 certified OMA Gold schools in the Tucson Unified School District. Read more about the OMA Model at TUSD’s website. We have an Arts Integration Specialist (AIS) as well as professional teaching artists who collaborate with teachers on a weekly basis in order to integrate the arts into our curriculum. The OMA model’s goal is to improve student achievement through the infusion of arts in the areas of reading, math, science, writing, and social studies, as well as 21st century skills.

Teachers at OMA Gold schools are trained by the Design Team and professional artists to create and implement lessons using the arts to help students become more engaged, master curricular objectives, and have fun! Every summer, selected staff members attend IDeA, Instructional Design for the Arts Summer Institute, where they attend lectures, exploratory classes, plan as a team, and often take part in performances in the areas of dance, opera, and visual arts.

OMA students are exposed to music in kindergarten, opera in first grade, dance in second, recorders and theatre in third, violins in fourth, and band or orchestra in fifth grade.

Reasons to involve Students in the Arts


Students who learn to play an instrument develop a greater language capacity and a greater ability to learn a new language.

Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas.

A study published in 2007 revealed that students in elementary schools with superior music education programs scored around 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math scores on standardized tests.

Active engagement with music promotes an adaptive auditory system that is crucial for the development of listening skills.

Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create quality work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

Music can keep kids interested and engaged in school.

Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures

Musical education programs require teamwork. students work together and build collaboration

It develops insight and creates emotion. Through music, children learn to share their humanism, express thoughts and feelings, and contribute to the infinite and collective spirit we call “life.”