Cynthia Diehl

Position: Chorus Director

School: Osceola High School

School District: Osceola County School District

City, State: Kissimmee, Florida

About the Nominee: Cynthia Diehl was nominated by Melikia Courtney, the parent of a student.

According to Ms. Courtney, the following attributes define an excellent educator, not just a good or great one, but an excellent one: One must be committed to being and doing their best while drawing out the light and leadership in others. Ms. Courtney's son, Zion, was fortunate enough to participate in Chorus as an elective under Cynthia Diehl's instruction. He, along with almost 150 high school students, learned how to replace personal opinions, attitudes of teen indifference and fear with confidence, genuine team care, boldness and goal-focused purpose. These changes were evidenced time and again during classroom instruction, scheduled performances, field trips and volunteer opportunities offered to and accepted by the students, even on Saturdays!

Mrs. Diehl, called "Big Diehl" by many of her students, is that exactly! Watching her pour love on her students through stern and soft instruction moved Ms. Courtney to quietly take notes on how to navigate the teenage response. What further opened Ms. Courtney's mind was the way that all students received Mrs. Diehl's instruction. That, in Ms. Courtney's opinion, is where 'Great' transitions to 'Excellence'. Speaking from a parent's perspective, as well as experience with behavioral health, she says that it's one thing to offer insight, instruction and olive branches of care to an individual. It's another thing for one's offerings to be received, then acted upon. It takes a special kind of dedicated educator to win the hearts of peers, parents and students. Mrs. Diehl has done that without penning it to a goals list. Her goals for students include molding healthy minds, conveying the importance of moral decision making, understanding personal greatness while competing only with themselves to be the best version of themselves they can be. Those are just a few of the many lessons Ms. Courtney's son evidenced time and again during the school year that helped to reinforce their family values. According to Ms. Courtney, she is forever grateful to have been able to meet a woman, wife, mother and educator who will forever be one of her go-to examples when speaking on what it takes to live beyond great while living big and serving others.

Mrs. Diehl changed the lives and perspectives of over 150 students this past school year alone, as well as the lives of countless parents, staff and families in the Osceola community. Her contribution will continue to be a daily light for Ms. Courtney and her son.