CONGRATULATIONS DIANA WEST-ACUNA
for receiving the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Music Award
being presented at the 2016 AMEA Conference
Native Tucsonan, Diana L. West Acuña, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of Arizona in 1992 and her Master of Arts in Business and Organizational Management in 2005. She began her career as a music educator teaching general music, choir, concert band and jazz band in the elementary, middle and high schools of the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District #35.
Currently, Mrs. West Acuña is the Director of Bands at Alice Vail Middle School in the Tucson Unified School District, where she teaches five concert and jazz bands. During her 20-year tenure at AVMS, her bands have consistently earned Superior and Superior with Distinction ratings at the ABODA MS Concert Band and ABODA HS AREA Jazz Festivals, as well as Gold ratings, Outstanding Band, and Sweepstakes awards at the Heritage Festival in Anaheim. The AVMS Band Program has had the distinct honor of being recognized by Heritage as an organization that best represents its school, community and state and Mrs. West Acuña has been the recipient of their prestigious Adjudicator’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Music. She has also received honors and awards from Disney and the Tucson Unified School District. In the fall of 2015, the AVMS Jazz Band had the privilege of performing with Kenny Rampton, Walter Blanding, and Sherman Irby, members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Diana is also active as an AMEA adjudicator and U of A Cooperating Teacher.
Diana is thrilled and very grateful to be honored with the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Music Award. At her first AMEA Convention in 1993, Music Educator of the Year, Bill Richardson, said, “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people.” For Diana, those people include Bob LeFevre, Marshall Stewart, Ken Tittlebaugh, Gregg I. Hanson, Dr. Joan Ashcraft, Jim Maynard, and David W. Ross, among countless others. Most of all, she accredits her talents to God Almighty, whom she believes works through her according to His will and purposes each day.
Diana enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Marty, and son and daughter, Brendan and Haley; all three of whom are percussionists. Diana is also a devoted band mom to the Rincon-University High Band Program. Haley is in her Junior year and Brendan just graduated and is now a Freshman in college.