The 2019 Excellence in Public Service Award honorees will be recognized at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at a reception at the Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. The award, in its 31st year, recognizes Sedgwick County, City of Wichita and Wichita Public Schools employees who share a strong work ethic, exceptional performance and a commitment to community. The honorees will be presented with a recognition gift and $2,500. The Excellence in Public Service Award is sponsored by the DeVore Foundation and KSN.
The honorees are:
Daniel Schrant, Construction Engineer for Sedgwick County Public Works
Carmen Johnson, Senior Accountant for City of Wichita Finance Department
Carla Breckenridge, Fifth-Grade Teacher at Buckner Performing Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School
Daniel Schrant, P.E. (Sedgwick County) serves as the Construction Engineer for Sedgwick County Public Works. Schrant has been with Sedgwick County for six years and has been involved in a variety of successful projects. In 2018, he was involved with a project to overlay the pavement on Main Street in Garden Plain, KS. Schrant identified a railroad crossing that had not been utilized for several years. Through conversations with the City and the railroad, he was able to have the unused tracks removed prior to the project's start date. Schrant later received an award from the County Manager for his initiative.
Schrant is an active member in the community, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. In 2017, he led the campaign to bring the film, "Dream Big: Engineering Our World" to Wichita. He was awarded the 2018 Outstanding ASCE Younger Member Award for Region 7 by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2018. As President of ASCE, Schrant developed "Hands on Engineering," a new monthly kids program offered at the Advanced Learning Library.
Schrant is an active member of the Knights of Columbus and regularly serves breakfast to raise funds for various youth activities. He serves on a planning committee that manages 1,500 hours of volunteer time to operate a fireworks tent each summer with proceeds donated to local charities or spent on care packages for troops stationed abroad. Additionally, Schrant is a Cub Scout den leader and a YMCA basketball coach.
Schrant has been married to his wife Vicki since 2008 and they have four children; Levi, Sarah, Jude, and Abigail.
Carmen Johnson (City of Wichita) has been a Senior Accountant and Senior Management Analyst for the City of Wichita Finance Department for 15 years. She manages and oversees the Accounts Payable function and is responsible for accounting for the General Fund, financial reporting, necessary tax filings and overseeing travel expenses. She works with both internal and external customers and performs her work with integrity, professionalism and respect, providing a great example of the City's values of trust and service.
Johnson has focused a great deal of her efforts on helping military veterans and their families. She and her coworkers save soda cans for Chris, a son of a friend who has Down syndrome. The cans are recycled and the funds are donated for Kansas Honor Flights. Johnson's daughter is a Maize High School Eagles cheerleader and she helped the cheerleaders raise enough funds to send five Kansas WWII, Korea and Vietnam War veterans on a Kansas Honor Flight trip. She coordinated a group from Maize High School to welcome home veterans from their Honor Flight. She is an active participant in the local chapter of Wear Blue: Run to Remember which honors the service and sacrifice of the American military, fallen soldiers and their families. She was instrumental in bringing a "Blue Mile" to the Prairie Fire Marathon in October 2018, where volunteers lined a mile of the course holding American flags with names of fallen service members embroidered onto the attached ribbons.
Johnson has opened her home to club baseball players, hosting them during their summer season. She has served on the National Baseball Congress (NBC) Foundation executive board as Secretary and volunteers at functions hosted by the NBC Foundation.
Johnson is married to Jim and they have three children; Tanner (Presley), Drew and Kendyl.
Carla Breckenridge (Wichita Public Schools) is a fifth-grade teacher at Buckner Performing Arts and Science Magnet Elementary School. She began her service to the school district in 2000 as a substitute. Her love for children and commitment to public education inspired her to become a classroom teacher. Today, she is well respected as an innovative educator and leader among her colleagues.
Breckenridge creates opportunities for her students to learn beyond the confines of the classroom. This year, her students researched the Dockum Sit-In and interviewed Dr. Galen Veasey, a member of the original sit-in, and toured the site of what was formerly the Dockum Drug Store and the memorial erected to commemorate the site of the nation's first sit-in. Her class was also part of the Dockum Sit-In documentary that aired on KPTS in the fall of 2018. Breckenridge initiated and sponsors an empowerment group for fifth-grade girls to address self-esteem, social skills and healthy choices.
Breckenridge is a member of the Wichita Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., participating in many of their programs and initiatives that support young people. She has also been actively engaged with the Wichita Chapter of the Links, Inc. since 1992. One of her most impressive contributions is her development of the African American High School Leadership Conference, Leadership U. In 2012, she created the conference, enlisting the help of key community leaders and sponsors to provide an interactive and engaging conference which has now served over 1,120 parents and students.
Breckenridge and her husband, Lorenza, have four grown sons; Lorenza III, Landon and Lyndon Breckenridge and Christian Garner.