Wheeler Elementary OMA Information
Message from our OMA Teachers

2nd Grade Dance
Melanie Jarvis 

I miss my students and hope they are still engaging in the arts during this difficult time. 

Originally, from Southern California, Melanie grew up dancing in Ventura County and West Hollywood.  Melanie’s training includes ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, modern, pom and African.  She started teaching at age sixteen and realized her true love was teaching, choreographing and inspiring young dancers.  Melanie enjoys combining art forms through the Showchoir program at Ironwood Ridge High School.  She has taught at schools and dance studios across the country and has done master classes in Los Angeles and Osaka, Japan.  Melanie has danced professionally in California and Arizona and currently has her own dance studio in Red Rock.  She was an instructor with the United Spirit Association and has taught and choreographed at countless schools on the West Coast.  She has received many awards including first place and top choreography while competing on the television show “Dance Moms.”  She hopes to help every dancer achieve his or her potential while fostering a love for dance.  Melanie is excited to share her passion for the arts to the youth of Tucson as an Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) Teaching Artist.


Kindergarten – Music

2nd Grade – Theater

3rd Grade – Recorders and Theater

5th Grade – Music

OMA Honor Choir Director



Arts Integration Specialist

Wheeler Elementary / Bloom Elementary

Contact Robin Colwell by email


Mrs. Colwell is thrilled to join the Wheeler team as an OMA Arts Integration Specialist and loves being a part of the Tucson community along with her husband, Clayton, and two children, Ralph and Georgia!


Mrs. Colwell recently relocated to Tucson from New York City, where she worked primarily as a Teaching Artist in drama, music, and creative dance for over 12 years. She also designed curriculum and taught for Literacy Through the Arts with Arts For All NYC. Robin served as Director of Education for Infinity Theatre Company for 7 years, where she ran the high school and college internship programs, taught workshops, and produced Theatre for Young Audiences. She had the opportunity to work with Harlem Children’s Theatre Festival, where she directed and co-wrote original TYA works. Robin is also a children's musician, performing at live events as Captain Robin (with her hot pink guitar, Pinkerton). Before moving to Tucson, Ms. Colwell taught theatre K-5 full time at The Chester Park School in Queens. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Mississippi and M.S. ED Educational Theatre from The City College of New York with Theatre Certification K – 12, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Arts For All (NYC).

Kimberly Chaffin

1st Grade - Opera (Music and Theater)

Kimberly Chaffin (soprano), originally from Longmont, Colorado, has lived in Tucson since 2001, and graduated with her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Arizona.  Mrs. Chaffin has performed solo roles in multiple operas, oratorios, classical concerts, church concerts, and musicals. Kimberly has been singing in the Arizona Opera Chorus for the past 13 years and she is an Opera Teaching Artist in the OMA Program (Opening Minds through the Arts). Kimberly loves to share her passion for music and drama (Opera) with 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!

Juan J. Aguirre

Juan J. Aguirre made his professional debut with Arizona Opera in ’97 and has since interpreted roles such as Sarastro (Magic Flute), Pooh-bah (The Mikado) and Fr. Laurent (Romeo et Juliette).

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

Off of the stage, Juan can be seen/heard on national television and radio as a bilingual actor, and voice over artist, as well as having appeared on a few films such as La Venganza and Coyote. 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).

Angela Horchem

Angela Horchem is a mask-maker and performing teaching artist--specializing in ensemble-created physical theatre--who performs and teaches across the country. She joined TUSD's Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) program as a teaching artist in 2019. Thanks to support from the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, she is currently creating a one-woman show called Fin. She is also assisting to build puppets and props for The Scoundrel and Scamp's Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Most recently, she both directed and built masks and puppets for Live Theatre Workshop's Pinocchio: the Legend of the Wooden Boy. She also completed a tour as an aerialist with the Royal Canadian Circus. Her work draws from clown, commedia dell'arte, traditional Balinese performance, and more, and has been supported by /featured at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, National Endowment for the Humanities, and numerous primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions across the country.


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.


5th Band

Robert James Gutierrez

I am an alumni of Safford High School, Eastern Arizona College, and The University of Arizona where I earned my bachelors in music education.  I firmly believe everyone has music in them, and deserves to be able to express that music in a safe, and constructive environment.  Each and every student has the ability within them to become excellent musicians, as well as excellent individuals. I openly welcome any and all students, regardless of ability level, to join the band, and learn how to make music.



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.”
TUSD Logo TUSD Arcadia Region Logo