LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Oliver Diez

Position: Music Teacher
School: Palmetto Elementary School
School District: Miami-Dade County Public Schools
City, State: Pinecrest, FL

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Oliver Diez was nominated by his principal, Eric Torres.

Mr. Diez is currently in his 20th year at Palmetto Elementary where he teaches General Music. In 1999, he was voted as Palmetto Elementary’ s “Rookie Teacher of the Year," and in 2002 as “Teacher of the Year.” Recently, he was selected as the 2020 Francisco R. Walker Miami-Dade County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Mr. Diez has been nominated twice for the “Grammy Music Educator Award” and has been a “Who’s Who in Education” nominee. He also received a proclamation on June 7th, 2011 by the Mayor of Pinecrest declaring that date “ Diez Day”.

Mr. Diez has established an active music program at Palmetto Elementary which consists of a Beginning Band, Concert Band, Jazz Combo, a Drumline, a Chorus, and two levels of String Orchestra. These groups practice before and after school hours. He has had fourth and fifth graders chosen for both All-State Elementary Chorus and All-State Orff Ensemble (2006-2019) as well as for Superintendent’s Honors Festival. His groups have received 1st and 2nd place along with Choral / Instrumental Grand Champions at Orlando’s Music U.S.A. Festival. They have also received various Superior ratings.

In 2017, his elementary concert band performed alongside the F.I.U. Wind Ensemble. In March 2019, his concert band along with his 4th-5th grade chorus members performed at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City. His students’ community performances include the Annual “Relay for Life” at Baptist Hospital, Palmetto Bay, and Village of Pinecrest. They also include Miami Marlins games, Miami Heat games, various Church festivals from the community, SoMi Artwalk performances at Sunset Place, Neiman Marcus breakfast with Santa, The Falls Holiday Festival, Community Foundation Winter Concert at Pinecrest Gardens, “Night of Lights” at Pinecrest Gardens, Miami Palmetto Senior High school band program, and the Palmetto Middle School band program.

His former students have been All State musicians in Middle School Band, 9th-10th grade Concert Band, 11th-12th Symphonic Band, Middle school Jazz Band, High School Jazz Band, Reading Chorus, Mixed Choir, and Women’s Chorus. They have also been 2019 National Young Arts Foundation Merit winners in Jazz/Saxophone/Tenor, runner-ups for New World Symphony Concerto Competition, 2018 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra- lead alto saxophone, 2018 Band of America- 2nd alto saxophone, 2018 Grammy Band- honorable mention with distinction- alto saxophone, chosen for 2018 NEA/Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School All-Star Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet, winner of Fennel Scholarship at Interlochen Summer session, participant for the National Youth Orchestra in New York City, , 2016 Downbeat Student Music Award- Winner, Junior High Jazz Soloist, 2016 Florida Band Masters Association- Superior Rating, 2015 National Band Association Outstanding Jazz Student Award, 2015 WDNA 88.9FM Scholarship Competition- Winner, 2015 The Foundation for Music Education Mark of Excellence National Jazz Honors Award – Outstanding Soloist, 2014 The Foundation for Music Education Mark of Excellence National Jazz Honors Award – Outstanding Soloist.

Mr. Diez is actively a member of the Miami Wind Symphony, where he plays Baritone Saxophone and has made over fifty appearances with the 501st Legion. The 501st Legion is an international fan-based organization dedicated to the construction and wearing of screen accurate replicas of Star Wars characters to voluntarily attend charity events, fundraisers, hospital visits, schools, and movie premieres to put smiles on fans of all ages.

Comments (103)

Meital Hubert Ashkenazi Posted 5 months ago

Mr. Diez is an amazing music teacher. he is making a positive impact in the lives of students, he has a lot of patience and the kids love him so much. we really appriacate his work with the kids. i will definitely recommend to study with this teacher.

Carmen Giraldez Posted 5 months ago

Mr. Diez was one of my son's first band directors when he entered the Greater Miami Youth Symphony in early elementary He is now a freshman, and as a percussionist he will never forget the lessons Mr. Diez taught him. As a fellow educator, it is one thing to see a teacher make a difference in their school. We have heard and seen the legacy that Mr. Diez is at his school. But it is another thing entirely to see a teacher, go outside of their school and also extend into the community. Mr. Diez has been a one of the band directors at the Greater Miami Youth Symphony for countless years. The really extraordinary fact in addition to all he does is what he specializes in. You see, one thing is to teach an experienced student, but it is another entirely to teach the beginner. The student who is just starting, to have the patience and gift for teaching students to love music, this is life changing. Some of his students may not go on to be musicians, but they learned the value of hard work and perseverance and gained a new talent. They learn important life lessons as they sit in his band. Others like my son who strive to make music their life, and hear it as their calling got their very important start if they were lucky with a teacher like Mr. Diez. He is a font of endless patience, regardless of how off the note, or the tempo he never gives up on them, he challenges each of them to truly do their best. We are so blessed that Mr. Diez was there at the beginning of our son's path to music, it is crucial that those who teach our youngest treasures do so with the biggest dreams in mind. Mr. Diez thank you for dreaming big for our son and countless other students.

Linda Dwyer Posted 6 months ago

Mr Diez is the most dedicated teacher that I know! He truly cares about each child and instilling a love of music in them. My daughter Lucy has been in chorus for years and has loved every minute! Mr Diez is lives and breathes music and his enthusiasm is infectious. The children love him and love music because of him. He is a gift to our school and our community.

Pam Minkes Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez has made a tremendous impact in both of my children’s lives. My daughter joined chorus with Mr. Diez when she was in second grade. It was there that she developed her love for singing and music. She continued singing throughout high school and now in college. My son is in his third year of band and has benefited greatly from his experience. Mr. Diez teaches his students the importance of dedication, working with others and to reach for the stars. He provides the students with numerous performance opportunities that are always exceptional. Mr. Diez is an amazing, accomplished and dedicated leader. He is a true life changer.

Carlos Sorzano Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez teaches music to my 7 year old daughter at the elementary school. She loves his classes, and can’t wait each week to have her clarinet instruction. This has made a great impact in her life. I greatly appreciate Mr. Diez commitment and leadership.

Ana Maria Fernandez Posted 6 months ago

Mr Diez is not only a teacher, he is a role model. He is so commited to his work and his community, that is a model for teachers, parents, and students. I am pretty sure anybody that gets in contact with him can tell you this. He is humble. He is concentrated, focused and you can see the results. My daughter has been 3 months playing the clarinet in a band, and what a performance of these kids! And also you can tell from the way she expresses about him that he has helped her achieve many goals. I think I cannot express thought words the extraordinary talent he has. But i can tell you for sure that he transforms everything he does for good, we are very blessed to have him in our community.

Ebru Temel-Shea Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez is a great teacher and it is amazing how he can teach so many young graders how to play an instrument or sing. I was so impressed with Palmetto Elementary students in band & chorus during their performance in December. Those kids have some talent and I could see the students were enjoying and proud to be there performing. This shows how much Mr. Diez takes pride on his work and his passion for music and teaching his students to love music. As parents & students we are so lucky to have him in our school because he is valuable to our kids education and he is one of the reasons we picked Palmetto Elementary because of his music program.

Heidi Almodovar Posted 6 months ago

This is the first year our daughter has participated in chorus. As a relatively new family to PES, I can't tell you how impressed we have been with Mr. Diez's music program. He's is making such a positive impact in now only our daughter's experience at PES, but on the entire school's culture and atmosphere. The children take such pride in their work and are gaining knowledge and skills well beyond just their music; learning time management skills, how to present themselves in a professional manner, and performing on stage are just of few of the life long skills they're learning that will benefit them throughout their lives. Thank you Mr. Diez for all you do to support, nurture and develop our youth!

Keri Andrews Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez is an incredibly gifted teacher who shares his love and enthusiasm of music with so many others. I'm so proud of the exemplary music program and the leadership of Mr. Diez at PES! It brings back wonderful memories of when I was involved in band. It was by far the highlight of middle and high school for sure and it's even better that our children can have these memories as well. It's impressive to see a teacher still have so much dedication to a program and his students after 20 some years. He rightfully deserves to become LCOY!

Amy Schneider Posted 6 months ago

Mr Diaz exemplifies excellence for our children and his high expectations for them causes them to work hard to achieve their goals. He is also very inclusive and has made my daughter, a first time chorus member, comfortable and excited about participating!

Eva Villegas Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez is very inspirational and great mentor for our kids. He has done a exceptional job transforming kids into musicians.

Holly Villalobos Posted 6 months ago

I think it’s wonderful and well deserved for Mr.Diez to be nominated for this achievement. This is my daughters first year at Palmetto Elementary and I’m beyond impressed at what Mr.Diez was able to accomplish with my daughter and the other students in such a short time. I’ve never seen a music teacher so dedicated to giving an excellent opportunity for so many children. I can’t express my gratitude enough for his work with my daughter and her peers. He is truly an incredible person.

Jesus Toledo Posted 6 months ago

One of the best things that happen in Palmetto Elementary School is have teachers as Mr. Oliver Diez. He has been not just a person who teach music to kids, he is making a positive impact in the lives of students and as a father of 2 boys, whom have learn music with him for more than 4 years, I also can can guarantee anyone the highest moral and ethical standard with Mr. Diez has been doing his work.

Eva Villegas Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez is very inspirational and great mentor for our kids. He has done a exceptional job transforming kids into musicians.

Kelly Lau Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez is not only an amazing music teacher, he is also a life changer. My daughter had Mr. Diez as a music teacher in elementary school. He taught her to read music which led her to excelling at playing the violin. She is in middle school and still plays the violin. My son is currently in elementary school and plays the trumpet in Mr. Diez’s Beginning Band group. My son looks forward to playing in band at school each week and he also loves to come home and take out his trumpet and practice. Mr. Diez instills the importance of practicing to play well and to advance his skills in his students. He volunteers a lot of his personal time to the music program and his students. He is truly a life changer and deserves be Life Changer of the year.

Tamara Mourino Posted 6 months ago

Mr. Diez has been an inspiration to our children. I have been a mom at Palmetto Elementary for 7 years and have seen the transformation of our kids thanks to his dedication and love for music. He is an example of what a teacher/instructor should always be like and aim for: Excellence.

Danielle James Posted 6 months ago

My daughter has been reading music and playing the recorder since she started music classes with Mr Diez in 1st grade. This year she is in 4th grade and she signed up for beginning band and is now playing the flute. She practices all the time on her own without me asking and really loves it! She has learned a love and appreciation of music at such a young age and it is all because of this incredible music program that has been organized by Mr Diez. I realized 3 years ago when she started reading music that this was a special program. I want to thank Mr Diez for giving my daughter the gift of music.

Barbie Kaercher Posted 7 months ago

Mr. Diez is one of the most dedicated, stellar teachers I have ever come to know. Mr. Diez has taken my boys' initial interest in trying musical instruments and turned it into a flourishing proficiency and appreciation not only in their respective instruments, but in the study of music overall. My boys have become more musical than ever with an appreciation for all types of music. It is impressive how Mr. Diez fosters enthusiasm for music and self-betterment in his students through persistence, discipline, patience, and encouragement while holding his students accountable to reach heights that go beyond the scope of what one would imagine and expect at the elementary school level. Most of his students have never had any type of musical training whatsoever, and it is amazing how he manages to instill belief in the abilities they have, as well as in the abilities they have yet to develop. The exposure that Mr. Diez gives his students by having them perform at many types of events in the community helps build confidence and character that will take the children a long way in life. My boys have learned the language of music which has opened up a brand new world to them which will help elevate them to the highest of heights. I am eternally grateful to Mr. Diez for the positive impact he has had upon my boys.

Chelsea Wilkerson Posted 7 months ago

Mr. Diez takes elementary-school aged children and transforms them into musicians. He has given my family, and hundreds of other families, the gift of music - both the confidence for children to consider themselves musicians, and the lifelong love of music appreciation. His work goes well beyond the classroom. I have seen him on evenings and weekends - going above the call of duty to ensure students have opportunities to perform - across our community. Everywhere from sporting events, luncheons, art walk nights, and more. In addition, he knows his students' strengths and weaknesses, and holds them accountable to perform at their best and highest level. It has been a privilege to be part of the incredible musical community he created.

Jessica Shults-Figueroa Posted 7 months ago

I have two children who have been students of Mr. Diez, and members of his concert band. He is a wonderful teacher, and it is absolutely incredible how he gets all these kids who have no musical background to come together and sound so good! His program is especially important to our school community because it is open to all. He gives every student equal opportunity in his program- no matter what their financial situation, or musical experience. Students who would never have picked up an instrument because their parents could not afford it or don’t have the ability to drive them to lessons, are able to stay after school and be touched by his guidance. My own children have benefitted greatly by this program and grown so much, learning not only how to read music and play an instrument, but have also learned the importance of discipline, responsibility, and team work. I am so grateful to Mr. Diez and all his hard work in creating such a wonderful program for all.

Diego Gonzalez Posted 7 months ago

As a former student of Mr. Diez, I can say with certainty that no one has influenced as many young lives as he has. I am currently a senior at the New World School of the Arts studying clarinet, and my brother is a freshman studying Bassoon Performance at the Juilliard School in New York City. Oliver recognized our potential at a young age and started us both off on a musical path that would eventually lead us to where we are today. Not only has Mr. Diez influenced my family, but he has impacted the lives of my friends and peers, many of which also attend New World with me and some who have moved on to fine universities such as Columbia, Duke, and Vanderbilt. I was lucky enough to be a student under Mr. Diez, and also receive clarinet lessons on top of that. He invested his personal time and effort to lift me to a higher level of musical performance and understanding. I attribute my meticulate attention to detail towards the music to his teaching style, and I am more than grateful that he has been a major part of my life to this point. I believe he is more than worthy to receive this honor as it is very apparent how many lives he has changed throughout his 20 years of teaching.

Alina Lanzas Posted 7 months ago

Every week, I watch my students enthusiastically ask, "Do we go to music today?'" I also am able to see those involved in the music program not only deliver beautiful performances, but feel pride in what they have been able to accomplish. They're excited, and for some that are not academically inclined, it's the only time they feel successful. Mr. Diez makes sure of that. I have been fortunate enough to see my students blossom and flourish in his program. However, I feel even more fortunate because all three of my own children were lucky enough to have been taught by Mr. Diez. When my kids entered Palmetto Elementary, I was in awe that they were able to read music within weeks of starting school. Later, all three children became involved in the music program, and again I was amazed that my son was able to play, first the trumpet and then the saxophone, without having taken a single private lesson. So much effort and dedication, on Mr. Diez's part, is poured into this program. He is truly inspiring to us all, whether we are the teacher of students whose lives he has touched, or the parent of students whose lives he has touched. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to experience Oliver Diez's gift as both a teacher and a parent.

Kelli Messinger Posted 7 months ago

My husband David and I are the parents of two students who have been fortunate to have Oliver Diez as their music teacher at Palmetto Elementary School. Oliver has also led them in the school's concert band, chorus and jazz combo. Oliver's commitment, passion and knowledge are unmatched. He has instilled in our kids a love for music (as he does for all of his students) and has also helped them gain the confidence and poise that is so critical for young musicians at the start of their musical journey. Leading an elementary school band in a performance at Carnegie Hall is obviously a career achievement but it is only small part of his story. That story has been told every day for the past 20 years - - in the classrooms, the music halls and rehearsal spaces where he instructs his students with patience, skill, care and unrelenting positivity. His students (and their parents) love him, and for good reason. We enthusiastically support his nomination for Life Changer of the Year.

Vibha Gupta Posted 7 months ago

Palmetto Elementary community is blessed to have Mr. Diez as the music teacher. Both my kids have grown as students and learners/appreciators of music under Mr. Diez's music education leadership. We recently moved back to Miami area and couldn't think of another school for our son because of teachers like Mr. Diez. He is a positive influence in these foundation years and instills good citizenship in all kids. Mr. Diez demonstrates his commitment to nurturing a a high quality music environment that supports not only musical learning but also beyond the music room. I give my unequivocal support for Mr. Diez to be considered for "Life Changer of the Year" award. And that is simply because he truly is one of those teachers who come in a child's life once in a lifetime.

Chloe Rabbino Posted 7 months ago

Mr. Diez changed my life! I was in his choir in elementary for five years. He helped fuel my dreams and with his support I had the opportunity to discover my passions. I am currently a student at NWSA and I don’t believe this would have been possible without his help.

Stephanie Alexandra Rivera Posted 7 months ago

We are blessed to have mr Diez teaching in our school. Making part of such a special band made our lives with more meaning, with more color and we see our son Eric committed with music. We cannot thank mr Diez enough for his time, dedication and commitment.

Donna Martinez Posted 7 months ago

Oliver Diez believes each child can grow, learn and succeed through music. Many times that is all our students need to achieve. Remembering the day this nominee was hired, the school principal announced at a faculty meeting she had found a rock star to teach music. Twenty years later have proven those words to be so accurate. I have had the honor to teach with Oliver and watch him develop his music program from seedlings into what is now a rich forrest, with alumnae flourishing and continuing their musical careers. My own three grown children were fortunate to have been Mr. Diez's students. They still reference this teacher for giving them their salsa skills from the club he created. In 1999, it was not so common to perform with a Salsa Club, comprised of fifth grade students, through out Miami-Dade County. He created ambassadors for our school and they were on the move. Currently, on any given day at Palmetto Elementary, before or after school, one can hear the melodic sounds of Beginning or Advanced Chorus, maybe the harmony of young musicians playing together in Beginning or Advanced Band, and Orchestra. If you're really lucky you might catch our jazz band practicing outside and get swept away in the absolute talent, forgetting these kids are all under the age of 11, and most are newly anointed musicians. My absolute favorite is the Drum Line beating a pulse of energy through the halls. I must confess, as Mr. Diez began to change the lives of the students at our school, we felt it in the classroom. Every child not only brought school supplies each morning but most were also accompanied with an instrument... we were cozy, but enthusiastic. The question has been asked many times after hearing this impressive music program if this were, in fact, a magnet school for music. It is not. Oliver Diez is the magnet that attracts these young people to music and he has forever changed their lives.

Jennifer Fleites Posted 7 months ago

Mr. Diez is such a positive force in the life of my twin girls. They are in chorus and wake up 3 days a week 30 min earlier to make it to school on time for chorus practice at 745am. They love walking in with him. He has shown them that hard work and dedication is important and is such a positive light in their lives.

Jaclyn Noordhoek Posted 7 months ago

Oliver Diez is an inspiration to work with at Palmetto Elementary School. Every time I walk my 2nd grade students to music they are eager and excited to go to his class. When I began working at Palmetto, I could tell right away that Oliver was a stellar teacher. Not only are his performances outstanding, he is a role model teacher at Palmetto Elementary. He is kind and always willing to help. Whether it is music related, something for performance arts or anything in general, he is someone who anyone can go to and trust. He is a leader and has everyone’s best interest at heart. Oliver Diez is a huge asset at Palmetto and deserves recognition for his outstanding leadership skills and stellar performances.

elissa diaz Posted 7 months ago

Both of my kids have had Mr.Diez as a music teacher for some years now. He has been a wonderful example to the kids on how to appreciate what a great tool music can be. My son has joined beginning Band with Mr Diez last year and has really loved to learn to play the clarinet. It has been awesome to watch him grow over the last 2 years into a little music man. No one is our family plays an instrument so to see how much Mr. Diez has inspired him to stick with band has been a pleasure to see. We truly thank him for all his support ,time and dedication to each child that enters his classroom.

Jaclyn Noordhoek Posted 7 months ago

Oliver Diez is an inspiration to work with at Palmetto Elementary School. Every time I walk my 2nd grade students to music they are eager and excited to go to his class. When I began working at Palmetto, I could tell right away that Oliver was a stellar teacher. Not only are his performances outstanding, he is a role model teacher at Palmetto Elementary. He is kind and always willing to help. Whether it is music related, something for performance arts or anything in general, he is someone who anyone can go to and trust. He is a leader and has everyone’s best interest at heart. Oliver Diez is a huge asset at Palmetto and deserves recognition for his outstanding leadership skills and stellar performances.

Julie Astuto Posted 7 months ago

I have worked with Oliver Diez for 20 years. Oliver is an amazing teacher who has touched so many lives! His students adore him and often go on to achieve musical awards. Many of them choose music careers as a result of the experience they had with Oliver. Oliver started with a school chorus and has built our performing arts department to now also include beginning band, concert band, orchestra, drumline, and jazz combo. His groups are invited to perform all over the community and they continuously win Superior awards at their competitions. He also participates in musical groups in the community. Oliver was chosen as our Teacher of the Year and continued on to win both at the Region level and finally, the District Teacher of the Year. He has a strong work ethic that he instills in his students. He inspires all of us to do a better job and to never give up! I highly recommend Oliver for this award as both a colleague and as a parent. He nurtured my daughter's singing and she now performs in productions at the college level and is pursuing a career in the theatrical arts. Without Oliver's guidance and encouragement, I'm not sure if she would have pursued this career but she truly loves it and I know this love all began in elementary school with Mr. Oliver Diez!

Tina Montesano Posted 7 months ago

Thank you for all the hard work that you have put in to making learning to play an instrument/music interesting and fun for our kids. “You were not just G's teacher, you were/are his guide, his friend, and his second parent while in school.. I'm grateful, and will always be, for your kindness, love, and support!

Julian Gonzalez Posted 7 months ago

I had the privilege of being a student of Mr. Diez for four years and can say without a doubt that his instruction and care is the foundation on which my entire career so far rests. Before he taught me, I had already loved music and listening to it; sometimes, during recess at school, I could be found huddled in the corner, toying with my recorder, trying to figure out little tunes and melodies while the other kids ran around playing. But through him, I discovered what it truly was to perform music, and with his guidance, and because of the music program he had cultivated, I was able to explore performance further than I would have been able to elsewhere. I played in concert band, and jazz combo, and in these two ensembles, I was able to play multiple instruments, which only fueled my love and obsession with the art. Most notably, in the fourth grade, Mr. Diez provided me with the opportunity to play the bassoon, an instrument that students usually start playing in middle school or high school. For me, the bassoon represented the pinnacle of my exploration into the performance of music, and seeing this, Mr. Diez gave me a chance. I still remember the day he showed me how to put the thing together and gave me my method book, saying he didn't know how to play it, but that he knew I would figure it out. Little did I know, I would fall in love with bassoon and play it all the way through grade school and into college. Now that I'm here, I think it's safe to say if it wasn’t for Mr. Diez, I wouldn’t be attending The Juilliard School studying bassoon performance in the studio of Judith LeClair, the principal bassoonist of the New York Philharmonic. In a way, every step and breath I take here I owe to him, and I am beyond grateful that I was lucky enough to cross paths with him.

Robert Rivero Posted 7 months ago

I could not think of someone more deserving of this Award than Oliver Diez. I have known Oliver since 2002 and he has truly helped to mold me into the person I am today. He introduced me to the wonderful world of Music. I started playing trumpet under his guidance at the age of 7. I developed as a musician throughout my time as a middle school & high school student, earning several positions as the “Principal” or “Lead” Trumpet player in a number of All-County, All-State and National Honor bands. Mr. Diez inspired me as a young musician to go above and beyond to reach my goals. He showed me as a young boy that there is no substitution for hard work. After High School, I joined the Military as a Musician and a member of the Army Honor Guard. I also went to school at Berklee College of Music. I am currently the Associate Director of Bands at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as the owner and founder of Rivero Music Design, LLC., where I compose and arrange music. This comment is not intended to be about me, but more so to say that I know I would not have made these career and life choices without Oliver’s influence on my life. While Oliver is an incredible Musician and Educator, what’s more impressive to me is his capacity to simply just be a genuine person who is caring and empathetic to all he comes in contact with. He has certainly changed my life as well as a countless amount of others. I couldn’t be more thankful for his guidance as a young man, his persistence in always pushing me to grow and not give up in my times of doubt, and his friendship now as an adult. With or without this award, this man is the Life Changer of the century.

Cheryl Ferrer Posted 7 months ago

There is no one more worthy of the title Life Changer than My colleague and friend, Oliver Diez. Aside from everything listed in his nomination profile above, Oliver helped me with over 15 school Drama Club productions when he first started as a teacher at our school. He is a true team player, a caring educator, and a noble man who puts others above himself. Please recognize this amazing friend with this worthy title.

Sylvia Fein Posted 8 months ago

Mr. Diez has changed the life of every student at Palmetto Elementary by sharing his love of music. He taught all 3 of my children and had them reading music and playing instruments within months. His is not a music class where students just sing — he teaches even his first graders to read notes and play instruments (typically starting with the recorder and graduating to sax, trumpet, keyboards, drums, etc). Mr. Diez arrives early every day and leaves late, spending mornings before school and afternoons after school teaching students who participate in his many music clubs—band, chorus, jazz band all at beginning and advanced levels. In addition, he instills an appreciation for music, from modern pop to the classics. My children are now in high school and college and though they did not pursue music — have a basic knowledge and can appreciate it. For example, they can identify major composers and their major works. By bringing music to their lives, Mr. Diez has enriched the lives of hundreds of students.

Alina Diez Posted 9 months ago

I am not writing this testimonial as Mr. Diez's wife but as someone who has observed and heard from former parents and students he has taught throughout the last eighteen years. It is truly amazing the moments his students have experienced during his career as an educator. Seeing the smiles and tears of happiness from parents and family members as they express their thanks to him after each of his concerts always touched my heart. I realize what he means to them when I come across his former students, now adults with careers, and hearing how much they remembered their years in music back in their elementary school years. Hearing them mention how effective their years in chorus/band were in teaching them life skills they would benefit from later on. Oliver Diez has always been so passionate towards teaching the gift of music to thousands of students. His hours of teaching surpass the normal school hours most teachers spend and on top of that he has tutored and helped countless students to help them improve. Thanks to him and his passion the performing arts program at Palmetto Elementary is very well recognized in our community. He brings present and former students once a year to perform at the Annual Winter Concert where his current and past students perform alongside local professional musicians, a truly remarkable concert every year. His passion does not end there. For the last five years he has made over fifty voluntarily appearances at birthday parties, hospital visits, charity events, sporting events and concerts in his own Star Wars stormtrooper costume along with other members of the 501st Legion. This group is an international fan-based organization dedicated to the construction and wearing of screen accurate replicas of Star Wars characters. I personally have seen the hundreds of smiles on fans of all ages as they pose for a picture with him in his Stormtrooper costume. "It's all about their smiles" he once told me after trooping at a Miami Marlins game for four hours without being able to sit down. Whether you are a family member of Oliver Diez, a former parent, or simply an audience member from one of his concerts, it is obvious what an impact he has had on so many lives.

Amina Ashe Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Diaz taught music to all four of our children. We could not have asked for more hands on and focused teaching. Palmetto started with virtually no music program to speak of and Mr. Diaz transformed it into Palmetto’s greatest asset. His depth of knowledge and ability to relate to that age group is unmatched in all the years we have witnessed during our children’s education. We are forever grateful for his dedication and love to our children.

Ari Sasso Posted 9 months ago

Oliver Diez is a life changer! He introduced my son to an instrument at age 5 and within two days had him reading music and playing the clarinet. Oliver's passion for music translates so easily. He has a commitment not only to his craft, but also to his students and the community that is unparalleled. In working with Oliver over the past five years, I have watched him nurture and mentor his students, providing them with every opportunity to excel musically. He goes out of his way to ensure that he provides unique performance opportunities for his students, allowing them to grow not only musically but confidently. Mr. Diez is a valued educator and Miami Dade County Public Schools is fortunate to have him represent our public schools. I can think of no better way to honor a teacher who selflessly provides the gift of music to young children, than to award him as "Lifechanger of the Year". I am forever grateful to Mr. Diez for the impactful and enriching experience.

Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho Posted 9 months ago

Oliver Diez is a proud Miami-Dade County Public Schools alumnus who has spent 20 years teaching at Palmetto Elementary School. He was named our 2020 Francisco R. Walker Teacher of the Year because of his passion for teaching music and his deep understanding of the importance it plays in the lives of students. I've witnessed the magic that happens in his classroom - students are able to master the art of playing a musical instrument as early as first grade, and last year, his chorus and band performed at Carnegie Hall in New York- all because of his innovative teaching methods. He is truly a life changer, an educator who works well beyond the school bell to instill in his students a love for music education.

Jackie Fals Posted 9 months ago

I have had the privilege of observing Mr. Diez excellent work ethic in his role as a music teacher in his community. It is not often you meet people as passionate, committed and dedicated as Mr. Diez, always ready to find opportunities for his students to shine and perform in their community. I am consistently impressed with his enthusiasm, communication skills and professional demeanor and have often observed his extensive capacity for leadership in action. He instills the sense of confidence any parent would want for their child to experience.

Addys Lopez Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Diez is a talented and disciplined individual who is hard-working, trustworthy, and conscientious; a person of integrity and honor. He is a multi-faceted teacher who understands the nature and importance of his leadership skills and character development. In the years I have known him, he has always been ready to step forward and become involved in bringing the joy of learning to students through music.

Corina Bethencourt Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Diez’s strong desire to utilize an occupation in the music field is driven by his wanting to give back to his community, assist his fellow citizen, and provide an opportunity for everyone to pursue the American dream of happiness. M-DCPS is fortunate to posses such a talented musician and teacher. There is no doubt that this recognition will continue to inspire Mr. Diez throughout his future educational experience.

Dr. Larry Feldman, School Board Member Posted 9 months ago

As a loving and caring music teacher, Mr. Diez helps students and peers, through his teachings and mentoring, the joy and reward of learning through the art of music. Through his vision and leadership, Mr. Diez is able to raise and maintain enthusiasm for music education for all students and teachers in his school. Mr. Diez is an avid performer in his community and successfully balanced his school responsibilities with the demands and hard work required of a performer. Mr. Diez’s strong desire to infuse a sense of pride and determination within the aesthetic culture of his community became his individual project of choice of service. While functioning and performing the duties and responsibilities of the lead music teacher, he also developed and implemented extensive, well-planned and highly involved activities and performances requiring the dedication and commitment of a very talented teacher and leader. Undoubtedly, Mr. Diez exhibits the hallmarks of the leadership skills he honed during his time at Palmetto Elementary, where he serves as lead music teacher. This recognition serves as a testament to your commitment to excellence and contribution to education. Keep up the great work as you continue to provide your students the opportunities necessary to reach their optimal potential. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is fortunate to have you in their midst.

Josie Alvarez Posted 9 months ago

Oliver is an exceptional human being and extraordinary music teacher. He has impacted the lives of so many students here at Palmetto Elementary and throughout Dade County Public Schools. His kindness in dealing with student, parents, staff alike is a marvel, especially in a time when it is so warranted. His organizational skills at running several different programs to help the young people in today's world succeed in music and to on to many more accomplishments in this field throughout their educational careers and further on. His commitment to the arts is superb and it shows in everything he does. We need more Olivers in this world to help make it a better place, but I am so glad he is here at PES and we get the benefit of his skills, person, and music!

Caterina Papadopulos Posted 10 months ago

Mr. Diez is truly the embodiment of a life changer, not only for me, but for everyone he has crossed paths with. The job of a music educator is often thankless—so many extra hours go into creating a well-rounded and quality education for our students. Mr. Diez has always gone above and beyond for all of his students, never once asking for anything in return except for our best effort and positive attitudes. I was fortunate enough to not only study with Mr. Diez from kindergarten through fifth grade in his general music classes, but also to participate in his extracurricular musical ensembles from second through fifth grade. But the mark of an exceptional educator is not what they do while you are in their classrooms, but once you are not in their classrooms that makes the difference. After moving on to my secondary schools, I continued to pursue music very seriously, and Mr. Diez was always one of my greatest supporters, always checking in after auditions and interviews to see how I had done, and was often the first to congratulate even the smallest achievement. He is the reason I have chosen to spend my life sharing that same love of music with future generations, following in his footsteps as a music educator. Mr. Diez is a life changer for me and so many, and regardless of what his students pursue in the future, we are all better prepared because of our time spent with him.

Adriana Buitvidas Posted 10 months ago

Both of my kids had the pleasure of being under the instruction of Mr. Diez. Such an honor to be taught by the best. To go from having zero music training to reading music and playing their instruments so beautifully is absolutely mind blowing. No one is more deserving of this honor.

Darcy Calvo Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez has instilled the love of music in our two children. My son participated in the Carnegie Hall chorus performance that Mr. Diez arranged in March. It was a wonderful experience for the entire family. Mr. Diez has dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort to the Palmetto music program. We are so lucky to have him in our children’s early education. He has taught our children the importance of commitment, practice, and carrying projects out to their fruition. He is an exceptional teacher.

Jony and Juan Papadopulos Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez has impacted the lives of both of our daughters. He introduced them them to music, a beautiful gift that will forever be part of their lives and of our lives. In Mr. Diez's ensembles, they both learned to play the French Horn, and to cooperate and work together in a group focused on achieving common goals. The impact of music education has been so great in their lives that our oldest daughter went on to study music in college, on a scholarship, and will soon begin her career as a music educator. Our younger daughter is beginning her senior year in high school and will be one of the two band captains in her school's marching band; she will also continue to play the horn in the school's top ensemble.The impact Mr. Diez has had on our daughters' lives goes beyond his years as their teacher--it truly is a ripple effect. We are so very grateful to him and his continued advocacy for music education.

Stefania Papadopulos Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez was my elementary school music teacher. I was a member of his program from 2nd grade to 5th grade in both his band and his chorus. To say he has changed the course of my school career would be an understatement. He patiently and skillfully taught me how to read, play, and appreciate music. He was able to touch not only me but countless students before and after me with a passion for creating music. He led us to competitions and continued to nurture my talent and helped me grow as a musician through the years. With what I learned from Mr. Diez I continued on to attend both a middle school and high school in magnet band programs. I have been able to participate in Honors festivals and receive the highest ratings on all of my solos at adjudications. I am forever grateful for Mr. Diez's dedication and brilliance in teaching as it inspired me to continue to follow music and has changed my life for the better. I would not be on the path I am now without music in my life and that all started with him.

Diana Soto Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez has taught my daughter since she was in kindergarten and he has been an excellent teacher throughout the years. His way of teaching our kids has been a wonderful experience because he shows them how to give back to the community by organizing concerts and motivating his students to get more involved with music. Mr.Diez is always willing to help them out of difficulties in a loving and nurturing way showing them how much potential they have in them. Anybody can only say that he is a good teacher but he has shown us how wonderful he is throughout all of his competitions that he has won first or second place and the events that he has held nationally and even in our own community. He truly is a wonderful teacher and I fully support that he has been nominated.

Daiana G Diez Posted 11 months ago

My three children have passed through Mr. Diez's classroom and the mark he left on them will last their entire lives. We have always been amazed by his passion for his craft and his ability to instill a love of music in his students. He's an inspiration and deserves the many accolades he has already received. We can't wait to see what the future holds for Mr. Diez.

Connor Munroe Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez gave us one-of-a-kind opportunities to play in several musical groups in elementary school. However that wasn’t the first opportunity he gave us - he taught every student the recorder in 1st grade and encouraged us to learn songs, increasing in difficulty, to collect different strings to put on our recorders as a sense of pride. Needless to say, my recorder looked like a big ball of yarn by fifth grade lol. He made band cool, and Beginning Band was the thing to do in second grade. Concert band is the natural path from there. But the most advanced band was the jazz combo, which you had to audition for. This was a big deal at Palmetto since there were only a handful of kids in it. By creating these different levels of bands, Mr. Diez gave us purpose, incentives, and motivation. Every kid respected Mr. Diez for two reasons: he meant business during practice, but at the same time, he is also a young-spirited and cool teacher that we could relate to and joke with. His respect and care for us made us want to be great and impress him by practicing everyday at home. One of my most vivid memories is walking into my first rehearsal with the Jazz Combo and being blown away by a couple of the 4th and 5th grade saxophone players. These became my peers and they inspired me everyday, and still do to this day. With this inspiration, came competition, but the good kind. Mr. Diez allowed us to push each other and he taught us how to hold each other accountable. Today, the kids that were in those jazz combos are some of the best high school musicians in the nation. Mr. Diez truly created the Palmetto Pipeline; every year he produces a new crop of talented young musicians. But more than this, his influence spread beyond music, he taught us selflessness. He dedicates long days and nights to the kids and the music program, which we appreciated. The opportunity to perform all around the community frequently all year taught us confidence and the art of performing. Most of all, Mr. Diez taught us how to play with heart and from the soul, he gave us something priceless, that we could forever take pride in... the gift of music.

Sandra Garcia Posted 11 months ago

My daughter Sarah began her love of music thanks to Mr. Diez, participating in chorus, playing the clarinet, and drumline. Now my son is starting his steps in music under the direction of Mr. Diez in band. Our lives have been full of incredible moments thanks to concerts, competitions, rehearsals and more. We hope we can continue creating more memories thanks to Mr. Diez and his excellent Music program at Palmetto Elementary.

Cindy Munroe Posted 11 months ago

Little did we know that our 2nd grader, taking his first music class at Palmetto Elementary, would go on to become an All National High School Jazz Musician. None of our relatives were musicians, so we can honestly say that our son was 100% influenced by his teacher from the beginning, Mr. Oliver Diez. Mr. Diez has changed our son’s life and led him down a musical path, where it has become such a passion. Our son has gone on to be in multiple bands throughout the county, the state and has performed nationally. In our son’s spare time, he listens to music of all genres, mainly Jazz. It’s been years since we left Palmetto Elementary, but Mr. Diez still supports our son by showing up at his concerts. In the classroom, Mr. Diez has the perfect balance of fun and hard work, which keeps the students on their toes and wanting to be the best. He has a special gift for making music “cool” and attracting kids to his performing arts program. He not only teaches these kids music, but has them performing regularly throughout the county, which gives these kids confidence, recognition and a great sense of giving back to their community. As parents, we feel very lucky to have a teacher like Mr. Oliver Diez in our lives. His influence extends beyond our child, as he has introduced us to so many other great music parents. We can’t thank him enough!

Kathleen Rodriguez Posted 11 months ago

Our oldest daughter, Brynn, was new to Palmetto Elementary School. She came home so excited after music class one of the first days of the school year, asking if she could join the beginning band. I reached out to Mr. Diez to let him know Brynn had never played an instrument and we weren't really sure where to start. He suggested we youtube some instruments featured in the school's beginning band and see if any were of interest. He said the clarinet would be a good choice to start--IF she was interested in it (and she was once she watched the videos!). It has been an amazing year for both Brynn and my husband and I to watch her grow musically. Not only is she learning how to play the clarinet, but she is learning to read music on her own and now just a few weeks into summer continues to practice at home because she says "she doesn't want to lose it." Hah. She says it's a lot of fun and she can't wait until next year. We're so grateful for Mr. Diez inspiring a love a music in our daughter and so proud to that she's part of the school's band.

Zeny and Alfredo Diez Posted 11 months ago

It is very easy for a mother and father to talk about the virtues of their children, but how not to remember and at the same time be super proud when on several occasions during different events of our son, Oliver with his students, several parents have come to us to tell us how much our son has influenced their children's lives in a positive way. They told us that not only had they had great achievements in music, but that their grades had risen significantly in various subjects. Thank you to all those parents who made us live moments of happiness knowing that our son had changed the lives of so many students. Thank you very much for allowing us to share this precious experience through this median with all of you.

Flavia Mac Lennan Posted 11 months ago

Amazing teacher!! I’m so excited to have my daughter with this excellent and talent professional.

Paula Arias Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez has been teaching my son for almost two years. He has guided him into his love to music and has inspired him to be musician and a conductor. Besides, he has thought him to love what he likes by challenging my son to be better and teaching him to work hard. Thanks for helping

Staci Kaplan Posted 11 months ago

My son is currently a member of the concert band under the instruction of Mr. Diaz. We had the opportunity to attend Carnegie Hall with him this past Spring Break and what a moving experience that was. Mr. Diaz is a special individual, a teacher that doesn’t come along everyday. His passion, and love of music shines through each of his students. It was incredible to witness this at performances throughout the year and especially in New York. He is a natural motivator and makes each student feel special and talented. It is really great to see a teacher as dedicated and hardworking as Mr. Diaz getting the recognition he truly deserves.

Sarah Wills Posted 11 months ago

The words ‘Thank You’ will simply never be enough to convey the gratitude we have for Mr Diez. As expats, who have lived in a number of other countries and had their children attend a number of different schools we have been blown away by the dedication, enthusiasm, commitment, hard work and love that Mr Diez has shown our sons. EVERYONE in his charge is given the opportunity to learn and enjoy music. Mr Diez has, for ever more, left a phenomenal lasting impression on the whole family. To be included and accepted, no matter what, is truly a special gift and Mr Diez exemplifies this every day. Through music Mr Diez has enhanced and changed our lives and the lives of every other child at Palmetto Elementary School forever.

Marysol Oria Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Diez is an amazing music teacher, who with great dedication and effort has made Palmetto Elementary School Music Program one of the best. His love and passion for music have been an inspiration for many children who had the opportunity to be part of this program at a very young age. Our daughter gained confidence and experience singing in the chorus and solo in jazz combo in front of large audiences. Thank you Mr. Diez for being a great motivator for our children enabling them to reach their maximum potential. You are a true life changer.

Lyanne Cassimire Posted 12 months ago

My son and niece are currently members of the palmetto elementary school band under Mr. Diez's instruction; they attended Carnegie Hall during spring break. During this time I was able to see what and outstanding individual Mr. Diez truly is. He is passionate about what he does and it shows. He is an inspiration to everyone he comes into contact with, children and adults alike. It has truly been a pleasure to watch the interaction between him and the children, sharing their love for the arts. I can't wait to see and experience what the future holds for the band and Mr. Diez!

Lucia Tracy Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is not only a great music teacher but an example and inspiration for our kids. He teaches the kids more than music, he gives them the foundation they need to work harder to achieve the goals they set now or later in life. Mr. Diez is a very successful teacher and musician that has built a great program in our school.

Daniel Samper Posted 12 months ago

I had the absolute privilege of being a participant in the first band at palmetto elementary. Not only did Mr. Diez provide me with an unprecedented musical advantage in South Florida, his guidance and belief in me provided the foundation of the man I am today. Through love, compassion, and determination, Oliver pushes his students to their maximum potential. Mr. Diez is the epitome of an educator and a leader: exceeding expectations of establishing and perpetually growing the palmetto elementary music program, all whilst being an incredible teacher, father, husband, and friend. Because of him, I was able to participate in consecutive all-state bands, attend a prestigious arts high school, receive numerous scholarships to summer programs/ universities, and accumulate various musical awards. But it doesn’t stop there. The inspiration he instilled in me, 17 years later has translated to my volunteer journey across the world teaching kids music in New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and soon to come Kenya. His passion, virtue, and integrity never fails to be on display and it is no surprise the outstanding accomplishments he has achieved. The 7 year old me to now the 24 year old me is honored, grateful, and proud to have Oliver Diez in my life.

Jake Heller Posted 12 months ago

Deciding to join the band in 3rd grade turned out to be one of the most influential decisions of my life. The love for music that Mr. Diez inspired me to have from a very young age caused me to make music one of the most important aspects of my character and my life to this day. For many of my friends, starting at such a young age with Mr. Diez’s guidance allowed them to unlock potential that would be otherwise not be realized, and because of it they are nationally recognized. By giving me a desire to continue to play music, I have him to thank for many of my best experiences even after elementary school.

Tim Martinez Posted 12 months ago

I've had the pleasure of knowing Oliver for the last 5 years. Oliver and I belong to a Star Wars costuming group that does local charity work. We visit children's hospitals, participate in charity walks, and other charitable functions. It wasn't until a recent event we did at a school concert that I witnessed first hand the impact Oliver has on his students, families, and his community. I saw hundreds of students and families approach Oliver after the show-shaking his hand, taking photos, and expressing just how much he has impacted their lives. One memorable interaction was a former student, now an adult, that felt compelled to tell him what a difference he made in her life after all these years. Outside of his career, Oliver continues to be a life changer. During charity hospital visits, Oliver meets kids with serious illnesses. Kids who are stuck in a hospital room for weeks or months at a time. Those few minutes he spends with kids in that room dressed as a Star Wars character are life changing. For those few minutes, those kids forget about their illness and get to live a normal life. Oliver is not only a Life Changer for those who know him personally, but to those who have never met him before.

Daniel Samper Posted 12 months ago

I was one of the students to have had the absolute privilege in participating in the elementary school band formed by Oliver Diez. Not only did I receive and unprecedented benefit of being in South Florida elementary school band, but the direction I received from Mr. Diez contributed to All aspects of my life including music. I consider Oliver to be the key catalyst in my growth not only as a musician but as a man. His guidance lead me to participating in the all-state bands for consecutive years, attending a prestigious arts school in Miami, as well as acquiring music scholarships and other noteworthy accomplishments (pun not intended). Beyond music, he demonstrated what it is to truly have a passion, exceed expectations, and push students to their potential all in a selfless and compassionate manner. Oliver is the prime example in my life as a wholesome individual and incredible man. I am currently volunteering across the world, teaching kids music in New Zealand, Philippines, Vietnam, and in late 2019 will be in Kenya. My mission to help students through music stems from the 2nd grader (me) who was accelerated by love and determination by his teacher (Oliver Diez). I am honored, grateful, and proud to have been a student of Oliver Diez.

Dee Salyers Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is a talented teacher with the gift and patience to take elementary school age students with little to no experience playing musical instruments and transform them into young budding musicians. Both of my kids had the pleasure of being a part of his amazing music program and have developed a love for music I never would have imagined. For that, I thank him. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Mr. Diez.

Stefanie Esparza Posted 12 months ago

My family had the pleasure of being friends with Mr. Diez before he was a teacher to my boys. When they walked into their first day of music class with him, they came home beyond excited. You'd think they just met their favorite celebrity. Their love for music flourished and they began to love going to watch the older kids perform. Our family is moving states this summer and we are all so sad that our children won't grow up under Mr. Diez. The boys keep asking if they'll be able to watch all the performances still. Mr. Diez is one of a kind. His love for music AND for our children shows THROUGH our children. My boys had a short time with Mr. Diez but grew tremendously and are more upset to leave his music program than their friends.

Suzanne Suarez-Mendizabal Posted 12 months ago

Very deserving educator and mentor!

Christian Santana Posted 12 months ago

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mr. Diez for several years now in helping his program raise funds for all their various needs. I work directly with several hundred teachers every year. I can tell you that Mr. Diez has always shown a dedication to his students that is has become increasingly more rare theses days. He will go beyond the call of duty to show his students how to become great musicians, but even more importantly, incredible young members of society. I highly endorse Mr. Diez for this and any accolade he is nominated for!

Elina Pacios Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is an incredibly talented teacher and mentor to all those who are blessed to be his student. His love and passion for music is truly an inspiration. The Palmetto Elementary community are lucky to have him!

Donna Thomas Posted 12 months ago

Mr Diez is an amazing talented teacher who has a passion for teaching and a zeal for helping student to discover and develop their God given talents. He is an encourager, a motivator and an inspiration to his students. He has spent endless of hours helping these student to reach their greatest potential. Mr Diez has helped my son Timothy discovered his hidden talent as percussionist and I am forever grateful. The discipline and dedication Timothy has shown as musician started in his early years under Mr Diez’s guidance and our family surely appreciated that!! Mr Diez is deserving of the highest reward for his dedication, time, and love that he has given to his students!! Thank you Mr Diez for all that you do! You have been a blessing to my family and to the world of Music!!!

Ilanit Dotan Fuchs Posted 12 months ago

My twins approached me in third grade and asked to start playing in Mr. Diaz's band. From the moment they started playing, it became the thing they liked most! Mr. Diaz invests his time and energy in each child for hours each week and prepares them for many performances throughout the year, giving them an opportunity to grow musically and enrich their world with invaluable knowledge. There are not enough words to describe his professionalism and devotion to every child and the gift he gave them and will stay with them forever - the true love for music. Mr. Diaz, you have no idea how profound your influence is on my children, they continue to play now and enjoy every moment.

Michele Defreitas Posted 12 months ago

To allow students to shine through the art of music is truly a skill Mr. Diez has perfected. His commitment and passion for educating our students at Palmetto Elementary is beyond words. He has allowed students to express their talents in numerous ways. As an educational leader he has taken his music program and elevated it to the highest level. Mr. Diez is a genuine leader making a difference in children's lives everyday.

Maitte Penalver Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez’ passion for music is evident in the success of his students. He is respected and revered by all who know him. We (as a family) have the highest respect for him. We have been truly blessed to have him as a teacher for our son. Our son has learned to be committed and to do your best always because of Mr. Diez teaching by example. Mere words do Mr. Diez no justice, to truly understand and feel what a phenomenal teacher he is you must be in his presence. Thank you Mr. Diez for all that you do and have done.

Érica Vedmed Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is more than a teacher, he is an inspiration to his students who look up to him and admire his passion and love for teaching and music. He has built the Palmetto Elementary Music program and made it one of the most prestigious and award winning programs in the state. His work is extraordinary. It is truly wonderful to see him get the recognition he deserved long ago.

Yani Carballo Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez has showed commitment to building a nurturing environment that supports learning and has made a positive impact in the lives of not only my boys but the lives of the students at the school. Mr. Diez has demonstrated exemplary leadership at our school. Mr. Diez is truly one of a kind music teacher.

Yuria Sharp Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez changed my daughter's life! My daughter was bullied by her classmates in 1st and 2nd grade at Pinecrest Elementary. We switched to Palmetto Elementary by 3rd grade. Mr. Diez was his music teacher and encouraged her to try out for chorus. That experience.gave her confidence and helped her tremendously with her self-esteem. My son Michael followed her steps and later joined the concert band. Mr. Diez concert band was invited to participate in a band festival at the Carnegie Hall. Michael was part of a dream! He is so motivated. Both of my children were inspired by their music teacher. We can't thank enough Mr. Diez for changing their lives.

Noel Lopez Santiso Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is one of the most dedicated teachers I've seen in my life. He shows a real passion and transmits this to every children he teaches. My daughter started in band and is now in Chorus, and this has had a very positive impact in her life, since she learns the importance of commitment to a group, being on time, trying her best and showing an effort in every practice they have. I am thankful for Mr Diez's music program that gives the opportunity to every child that wants to participate to be included, and I am impressed every time I see any of the groups performing!

Marcela Villegas Posted 12 months ago

Mr Diez welcomed my daughter to Beginner Band with open arms when we moved from Colombia in 2014. She not only found an excellent music program, but a mentor to look up to, friends, and a loving community, that soon adopted our family like one of its own. During the three years that she was part of the PES Music Program, Mr Diez encouraged her to try new instruments and expand her talents. He has continued mentoring her now that she is in middle school, ready to go into a new magnet program which she was accepted into thanks to the skills and musicianship she learned from Mr Diez.

Estrella Arnold Posted 12 months ago

To have such a comprehensive elementary school music program is unheard of in our public school system. Palmetto Elementary's music program has grown and will continue to grow because of Mr. Diez's passion for bringing music to all students. Both my sons were introduced to music at an early age, thanks to Mr. Diez. He gives endless hours before, after school and weekends to provide our youth with the gift of music. My sons continue to play the trumpet in middle school and beyond. Mr. Diez has impacted my family in such an inspiring way! He is an excellent teacher and positive role model for our youth today. Muchisimas gracias!!!!

Thomas Scholl Posted 12 months ago

In the time my daughter went to Palmetto Elementary School, Mr. Diez was constantly going the extra mile, while running the before and after school music programs. I was consistently amazed at the calm happy demeanor he displayed while working with the children. He always stayed focused, really getting the best out of each child. He had my daughter engaged cheerfully, singing and performing in the choir during concerts with live Jazz bands. The Performances were a joy and amazing to watch. He alone was a force at Palmetto that turned the elementary from a great school, to an exemplary one. I believe he would be a perfect choice for Life Changer of the Year, this year and every year.

Crystal Marini Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is the most amazing teacher. He taught my kids at seven years old how to read music and play the saxophone and clarinet. Learning to play musical instruments at such a young age gave my kids a great deal of confidence and comraderie. The concerts and competitions that these kids perform in is so professional, that it's hard to believe they are only elementary school kids. His love of music and his nurturing personality shine through to all those lucky enough to know him. The community charitable events are always wonderful events, and it teaches these young kids about giving back.

Carlos E Valderrama Posted 12 months ago


Teresa Fitzgerald Posted 12 months ago

We were so fortunate to have Mr. Diez to introduce our children to music appreciation and participate in chorus and band. The camaraderie and bonds made are invaluable. The accomplishments and accolades of his students in music and life are a great testament to his dedication. Mr. Diez rocks!

Diane Netto Posted 12 months ago

As a parent at Palmetto Elementary for a total of nine years, I saw Mr. Diez’ work firsthand. Two of my children participated in the chorus for many years and had a wonderful experience. Mr. Diez is truly dedicated to his craft and has inspired many children in the process.

Rhonda Goodman Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is a very dedicated individual who has given any student who wishes to try the opportunity to pursue music at a young age in both before and after school music programs. Mr. Diez gives so much of his time outside his regular teaching hours sharing his passion for music and fostering the growth of the next generation of musicians. My 3 children all had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Mr. Diaz's chorus and band programs.

Yanet Mantilla Posted 12 months ago

Thank you Mr. Diez, there are not enough words to show gratitude for your dedication and genuine interest in the growth of your students. You’re an exemplary leader in music and education and humble role model for the youth and all that come in your presence. We are truly greatful for the opportunity you give our children and the reinforcement you provide consistently. May you continue to receive all the blessings you so proudly put into your work and community.

Monique Lundstedt Posted 12 months ago

We saw first hand what a positive impact Mr Diez has on the Palmetto Elementary community this year when our daughter joined Chorus for the first time. We had seen the excitement around the Palmetto Elementary Performing Arts program since our school tour 3 years ago. Emma loves Chorus and we love watching her grow and learn under Mr Diez’s direction. We have only positive and exciting things to say about him and his leadership for these young and impressionable children!

Veronica Dominguez Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is a one of a kind music teacher. Our school’s performing arts program produces the most amazing talent. Year after year, our children receive many awards in the competitions they enter. Additionally, Diez has boundless amounts of energy to run the many groups at our school. He creates an array of opportunities for our children to experience and develop a love for music! He is definitely a lifechanger for all our kids!

Marco Gomez Posted 12 months ago

Oliver Diez continues, over the past two decades, to be an instigator of musical community among people and excellence in his students in Miami-Dade County. As Mr. Diez’s alumni move further and further from their time under his tutelage, the ripple effect grows ever-stronger, as his unique persistence for excellence among the earliest stages of schooling leave a permanent impact. Today, at institutions operating at the highest levels, both in schools and within world-class performing organizations, an undying commitment to providing superior education in the performing arts affects both artists and audiences to a crucial degree. From raising funds to expose students to the great Carnegie Hall to maintaining seven different performing ensembles within a public elementary school, the future of humanity needs many one-of-a-kind individuals such as Mr. Oliver Diez. Mr. Diez is selfless for his persistent dedication to what will become, rather than what “is” today. This quality is what defines a life-changing, impactful individual.

Brooke Lam Posted 12 months ago

Thank you, Mr. Diez, for fostering such a love for music in all your students. My daughter loves singing in your chorus. We thoroughly enjoy watching the many school performances and are in awe of the talent shown by your elementary students.

Adam Stein Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez is almost entirely responsible for kicking my saxophone career off the ground. Firstly, he taught me how to play. He then offered and opened up many opportunities for me to play and improve, later sending me off to a great middle school that would fuel my passion. In addition to being a great teacher, he’s a great player, and a great person all around. He will always receive my highest recommendation to anyone who wants to start on any instrument (he plays them all!) and anyone who needs to put a band together.

Andrea Gonzalez Posted 12 months ago

Mr. Diez creates a positive environment for his students, building their self- esteem through high standards and well-designed instruction. He turns the noise into music... no small feat when confronted with a room full of young students! Mr. Diez is an exceptional music teacher. Through music, Mr. Diez gives his students a broader understanding of art and the world, giving them a voice to express themselves.

Lisa Martin Posted 12 months ago

He is certainly a great inspiration in helping youth find their voice, confidence & talents! Well deserved! The Martin Family

Jennie cohn Posted 12 months ago

My son cannot wait to join the band! One of the reasons we chose palmetto elementary was for their incredible music program run by Mr. Diez.

Erich Rivero Posted 12 months ago

Oliver Diez is an incredible Music Educator in Miamo Dade County at Palmetto Elementary School. I am one of Mr. Diez’s colleagues in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Mr. Diez has the only elementary school band in our county. They are outstanding consistently year after year. Mr. Diez directs the chorus, band, drum line & jazz combo and other things. Mr. Diez changes lives in a positive way. He instills pride and wonderful work ethic in these kids. He is a model teacher that teaches his kids to reach for the stars and achieve wonderful results. I highly recommend Mr. Diez, without any reservation for this profound award!

Anabell Suarez Posted 12 months ago

Mr.Diez holds a very special place in our heart. Because of him my son started to love music and has not stopped doing so after almost 7 years. He is an inspiration, and a great family man and teacher. We thank him for having introduced my son to the amazing world of music. By doing so, he helped create the path my son is which is one filled by music and art. Thank you Mr Diez!

Alejandro Izcaray Posted 12 months ago

As a graduate of Mr. Diez’s class, it is impossible to explain how greatly he changed my life and so many others. Being part of his chorus, concert band, and jazz combo was so great and has made me realize my passion for music and i am now studying at new world school of the arts and learning and getting better at music. Mr. Diez is truly a genius and mastermind and has made an impact to my life and so many others.

Nancy Levy Posted 12 months ago

My son, Julian, is an active member in Mr. Diez’s chorus, concert band and drumline programs and loves them all!!! He has learned not only to play various instruments but important life skills as it pertains to focus and dedication in learning your craft. Mr. Diez is an incredible that teaches from the heart.