Known for her dynamic style of teaching and her engaging professional development opportunities that help grow other outstanding art teachers, Watkins Elementary’s Sarah Matthews recently was named the 2018 Virginia Art Educator of the Year during the Virginia Art Education Association’s annual state conference.
“Ms. Matthew exemplifies the best of what art educators are and aspire to become,” said School Board Chair Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, whose district includes Watkins Elementary. “In the classroom, Ms. Matthews finds a way to give students authentic experiences that spur their imaginations and help them connect to art. And, stories are told often about other teachers across the state who clamor to find room in professional development classes that she leads.”
The VAEA awards serve to provide tangible recognition of excellence and achievement of the many outstanding individuals and programs of the VAEA. It also focuses professional attention on exemplary art educators, quality art education and increasing public awareness of the importance of quality art education.
Matthews has presented at state and national art conferences and has received many awards such as the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2001, Ms. Matthews was the Central Region Virginia Elementary Art Teacher of the Year and the VAEA State Elementary Art Teacher of the Year. In addition, she has been involved with art curriculum development, mentorships and has supervised more than 20 student teachers. In addition to teaching, Ms. Matthews is also an accomplished artist. She has produced large scale painted murals in public and private schools, restaurants, hospitals, businesses and more than 100 private residences in Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.
“We applaud Ms. Matthews for her accomplishments in and out of the classroom,” Superintendent Dr. James Lane said. “Ms. Matthews is known for making art class an adventure, a fun and exciting adventure. She truly represents the best of the best in art educators throughout the county and the commonwealth.”