The 2023 Excellence in Public Service Award winners have been honored in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The three winners are:
- Rusty Leeds, Assistant County Manager-Public Safety, Sedgwick County;
- Tim Elsen, Science Teacher, Wilbur Middle School, Wichita Public Schools; and
- Sean Jones, Communications Specialist, Advanced Learning Library, City of Wichita.
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 Thursday, May 11 in Lotus Hall at Botanica, 701 Amidon.
About the winners:
Rusty Leeds (Sedgwick County) As the Assistant County Manager for Public Safety, Rusty successfully facilitated the Community Task Force to Review Youth Corrections Systems Standards in response to the tragic death of Cedric Lofton. The task force developed recommendations for improvements to existing system standards and performance within the Department of Children and Families, law enforcement and youth corrections programs as well as facilitating the resources for a truancy intervention initiative. Leeds has served on various community groups: Community Crisis Center Mental Health One Stop Shop, Crisis Intervention Team Council, West Wichita Promise Neighborhoods Coalition, Safe Streets Wichita, League 42 and YMCA youth sports coach.
Tim Elsen (Wichita Public Schools – Wilbur Middle School) is more than just an average science teacher, he has his students’ best interest at heart. He dedicates extra time and energy for each student, offering extra-curricular activities outside the classroom, such as Science Olympiad, teaching students about the environment. He nurtures and mentors his students to achieve great things in science and in life, encouraging kindness to one another. Tim is a leader in the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, School Recycling Program, AVID coach, New Teacher Induction mentor, recipient of the KATS Outstanding Teacher of Science Award and WPS Good Apple Award.
Sean Jones (City of Wichita) serves as the Communications Specialist for the Wichita Public Library. He has enhanced the presence of the library and its service through video and social media in communicating the role and value of reading. He sets the course for all library staff to be successful in how they introduce new services, representing the Library’s mission and how to create an internal work culture that supports learning and enjoyment for Wichita’s residents. He builds successful relationships with the library, diverse communities, City of Wichita, and the communications community. He also engaged with Envision to explore new uses of technology for those with visual challenges. Sean serves as President of the Wichita Professional Communicators and volunteers at community building events at Naftzger Park and Botanica.