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Teacher of the Year

Sarah Matthews
Sarah Matthews
2017-2018 Teacher of the Year

Hello Watkins!! I am thrilled to have been chosen Teacher of the Year for 2017. Watkins Elementary has so many outstanding teachers, it is truly an honor to be put at the top of the list.

I began pursuing a career in teaching in 1983 after graduating from the OLD Clover Hill High School. While at Clover Hill, I had wonderful yet very challenging art teachers that pushed me to explore and excel in all arts media. This experience helped steer me towards enrolling, and ultimately earning my BFA, from VCU’s awesome art program. I returned to Chesterfield County in 1987 for my first teaching job: splitting time between Evergreen Elementary (the year they opened) and Gates Elementary.

The following year I got my own school and remained at Chalkley Elementary for eight years. This is where I first met Mr. Rhodes, music teacher legend and former Watkins teacher. We loved working together. When the art teacher positioned at Watkins open up back in 1995, I joined the Wonderful Watkins Family.

Speaking of family, I have a wonderful supportive husband that has put up with my glitter and paint for thirty years. He has been a big help moving my display doors for countless art shows. I also have a terrific 23 year old son that helps out, too. My family would not be complete without my smooth coat collie, Luke. He makes life a joy!

During my 30 years of teaching art, I have had the thrill of seeing children blossom into incredible artists. Their colorful creations make my job exciting. No day is ever the same! New ideas and connections are always flowing in the art room!

Throughout my teaching career I have had the chance to collaborate with excellent classroom teachers on projects to make concepts come to life by infusing art into math, science, and social studies curriculums. I have been blessed with terrific art co-workers who not only share in teaching our large student populations but also share in the passion for making learning fun through art.

I have been an active member of The Virginia Art Education Association, serving on countless committees, acting as the Elementary Division Chairperson, and being elected Virginia’s Elementary Art Teacher of the Year in 2002. My favorite role in the VAEA is giving workshops to other art teachers across the state. Watching my ideas become their inspiration for creating great art with their students is so fulfilling.

I have spent my summers as an avid gardener and mural painter. I love transforming public spaces into colorful environments that can be enjoyed by all. My murals can be seen at schools, daycare centers, restaurants, churches, and private homes across the Metro area and beyond. I love painting animals: especially, sea creatures. I enjoy all the color and textures found in the ocean.

Thank you staff, faculty, parents and students for making my career as an elementary art teacher exciting, rewarding, and fun!