The 2018 Excellence in Public Service Award winners have been honored in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The winners are:
- Sgt. Clayton Barth, Detention Academy Sergeant for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office;
- Janet Sutter, Business Technology Teacher at Wichita Alternative High School at Chester Lewis Academic Learning Center; and
- Van Williams, City of Wichita Public Information Officer.
The honorees were selected from thousands of eligible workers from Sedgwick County, Wichita Public Schools and the City of Wichita. They share a strong work ethic, exceptional performance and a commitment to community.
Courtesy of the sponsoring DeVore Foundation, each honoree will receive a $2,500 check at a reception at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9 in Lotus Hall at Botanica, 701 Amidon.
Sgt. Clayton Barth (Sedgwick County) serves as the Detention Academy Sergeant for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office at the Law Enforcement Training Center, located on Wichita State University's Innovation Campus. Barth graduated from Southeast High School in 1999 and joined the United States Army where he completed Military Police School and spent eight years serving. He is known for his bravery, courage, and leadership and has been awarded the prestigious Silver Medal of Valor. Barth has trained many staff members from the Sedgwick County Juvenile Division of Corrections, Kansas Jail Association, Andale Police Department and been invited to share his expertise in the field at numerous events.
Barth has been married to his wife Katie since 2002 and they have two children, Kylee and Austin. An active member of Journey Church, Barth serves as the Lead Pastor and an Executive Board Member. Under his leadership, Journey Church has distributed over 300 sack lunches to the Union Rescue Mission and provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to those in need. Sgt. Barth has demonstrated exemplary performance both in his work duties and in the community.
Janet Sutter (Wichita Public Schools) is a Business Technology Teacher at Wichita Alternative High School at Chester Lewis Academic Learning Center. Sutter has taught for the Wichita Public Schools for 30 years. She teaches students how to use graphic design and movie-making software; her development of an after-school program has captured the imagination of students, staff and the community.
Using a combination of grant money and personal funds, Sutter bought lathes and tools to start a woodturning program. Students thrived with the hands-on learning and participation in the program has grown exponentially. Sutter recruited members from a local adult woodturning club and her church to help. Students use their newfound skills to craft pieces for numerous organizations including pens for soldiers overseas and bowls for a local hospital called Beads of Courage Bowls which go to children who have chronic illnesses. The children receive beads for doctors' visits, surgeries and treatments, and then can keep them in their bowls.
Sutter supports Freedom Hooves, a non-profit organization that uses equine therapy for physically handicapped individuals. She started a woodturning club for women in the Wichita area, which offers free sessions and fellowship during their monthly meetings. She is actively engaged with the American Association of Woodturning (AAW) and its grant committee Women in Turning (WIT). She is also an active member of her church.
Van Williams (City of Wichita) is the Public Information Officer for the City of Wichita and has worked for the City for nearly 13 years. He manages media relations including news media requests, news conferences, news releases, messaging, City7 television programming, and www.wichita.gov content. He works to ensure accuracy, transparency, and media responses; he has helped support communications staffers across the organization, transform City7 into a video programming station and establish the City's social media footprint.
Before working at City Hall, Williams spent nearly 17 years as a journalist for the Wichita Eagle, where he served as a night police reporter, a neighborhoods reporter, a college sportswriter who covered the Big 12 Conference and Wichita State University, an election editor, a news editor and the City Hall daily and investigative reporter his final three years at the newspaper. Williams is a founder of two youth-mentoring nonprofits: he co-founded Real Men, Real Heroes, which serves fatherless boys and was recognized by President Bush in 2007; and he founded River City Hoops, a travel tournament basketball organization that focuses on life skills and serves more than 100 youth.
Williams has served on several boards including the Wichita Riverfest, Kansas Health Institute, and The Kansas African American Museum, which honored him in 2015 with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service award. Williams earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism (1989) and master's degree in public administration (2017) from Wichita State University. He and his wife, Kristi, are the parents of two Kansas State University graduates, Kelsey and Brooke; and a 15-year-old son, Christian.