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Excellence in Public Service Honorees

Contact: Communications Team |

The 2016 Excellence in Public Service Award winners were honored today in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The winners are:

  • Samanta Souriya, an ESOL teacher at Wichita Jardine STEM and Career Exploration Magnet Middle Academy
  • Sabrena Gresham, a Detention Deputy at Sedgwick County Jail
  • David McGuire, the Park Maintenance and Forestry Division Manager

The honorees were selected from thousands of eligible workers from the three public organizations including USD 259, Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita. They share a strong work ethic, exceptional performance and a commitment to community.

Courtesy of the sponsoring DeVore Family, each honoree will receive a $2,500 check at a reception at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 at The Cowtown Visitors Center, 1865 W. Museum Blvd.

Samanta Souriya (USD 259) began her career at USD 259 in 2011 as a Facilitator and Presenter for the District and Building In-Services. She then became the ESL Team Leader in 2013. In teaching English Language Learners (ELL), Samanta is relentless in her efforts to push them to exemplary standards. It doesn’t take long to see the compassion she offers to students in her classroom. The classroom is rich in culture and students feel secure in knowing Samanta’s expectations. She mentors other teachers in the building and leads her highly successful ELL team. In addition to attending many professional development sessions and trainings, Samanta is finishing her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction. She is driven to succeed which serves as an example to her students. In 2015, she was honored as a Kansas Teacher of the Year Regional Semi-Finalist and a Wichita Public Schools Distinguished Classroom Teacher Secondary Category.

Outside of teaching, Samanta volunteered at First Baptist Church assisting the homeless population who came to the church for free medical attention. Her other volunteer activities have included time in the Peace Corps in West Africa and missionary work in Laos and Thailand.

Sabrena Gresham (County) has been a leader and dedicated Detention Deputy at Sedgwick County for a decade. She takes pride in her job and truly makes a difference in the lives of inmates and coworkers each day. Gresham has been assigned to a Mental Health Housing Unit at the detention facility and is one of the reasons this project has experienced success. In this unit mentally ill inmates are now able to receive therapeutic care, improve coping skills and better transition to the general population.

Since 2011, she has served as the Sedgwick County Crisis Intervention Team Training Coordinator. In this role she has coordinated multiple basic and advanced trainings that are attended by agencies from across the Midwest. Gresham has been dedicated to finding ways to improve local services for people with mental health problems, giving them better options upon release from the detention facility, and hopefully breaking the cycle of reoffending.

David McGuire (City of Wichita) has been with the City of Wichita since 1985 where he began his career in the Recreation Division. He served as the Assistant Director and later Center Director at Orchard Recreation Center. His career advanced as he was promoted to the department’s Recreation Program Development Coordinator position. In 2010, he became the Superintendent of Park Maintenance and Forestry. In this role, he continues to improve park standards. For example, he developed a Forestry implementation plan to address the many dead trees in the city. He also manages many service contracts for City-owned parks. David’s experience, knowledge and dedication has made him an invaluable asset to the Park and Recreation Department and the City.

Outside of his City work, David has been active in The Arc program for 33 years. The Arc is a program for individuals with disabilities, ages four to 94. His many roles have included Center Director, volunteer board member and Chairperson for the Lights on St. Paul. He is also known for establishing Tuesday night dances at Orchard Park on behalf of the Arc. The dances have grown from three participants to more than 200 attendees per week. David was also instrumental in creating the Miracle Field at Orchard Park; a safety surface baseball diamond for adults and children with physical and mental disabilities.​

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