Raymond G. Wilkins, chairman of the fine and performing arts department at South Lakes High School, has been selected as Fairfax County's Teacher of the Year and will represent the public school system in the 1986-87 state Teacher of the Year competition in December.
Wilkins, a 23-year teaching veteran of the county schools, started his career with the county at Walt Whitman Intermediate School as an art teacher. He now teaches art and art history classes at South Lakes High and holds a seminar after school where he explores the idea of "integrating art to the total idea of learning."
Ray Woods, a senior at South Lakes, said in a recommendation letter to the selection committee that Wilkins "has encouraged me, inspired me and ignited me with the same burning desire for knowledge that is most characteristic of him . . . . I admire him and respect him for what he is -- a great person, probably the best teacher in Fairfax County."
Each summer since 1979, Wilkins has served as the director of the Visual Arts Department of the Interlochen Center for the Arts at Interlochen, Mich., a private arts institute that combines students and faculty from all over the world in the study of fine arts. The students range in age from 8 years to 22. Wilkins teaches a figure drawing class at the center and believes that "administrators should be involved in instruction."
He received a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in art education from Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in painting from George Washington University.
Wilkins has two drawings permanently displayed at the National Museum of American Art in Washington. He is currently working on a series of drawings of architectural abstractions in the studio at his home in Reston.
Linda Winograd, treasurer of the South Lakes PTA, said that Wilkins "will draw people who have absolutely no interest in art to his course because it's so exciting. He affects kids. He brings them things they hadn't thought about, and they are excited about it."
She described Wilkins as approachable and "absolutely fair." He has inspired students who previously had not been interested to go on in art, she said.
Sixty county public school teachers were nominated for the Teacher of the Year award. Wilkins was also selected to receive The Washington Post Agnes B. Meyer Outstanding Teacher award, which is made annually to a teacher from each school district in the Washington area.