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Johnson, Others Inducted

Clark And Taylor Also Honored

Oklahoma County Commissioner Willa Johnson (Dem., District I) and two others were inducted last week into the Wall of Fame of the Foundation of Oklahoma City Public Schools. The 31st annual induction ceremonies were held on Nov. 10, when Commissioner Johnson and the other two alumni of the city’s public school district joined 21 others previously inducted and received Wall of Fame Humanitarian Awards. In addition to Commissioner Johnson, Dr. Benton Clark III and Kathy Taylor were inducted last week.

Following is information on the three inducted on Nov. 10:

Commissioner Willa Johnson (Dem., District I) served 14 years representing Ward VII on the City Council of Oklahoma City. She was elected county commissioner in Nov. 10 and was reelected in 2014.

Her district spans s from far northeastern Oklahoma County to just west of downtown Oklahoma City.

While serving on the City Council, Mrs. Johnson focused on economic development and improving the quality of life issues.

Her strong interest in commemorating the historical contributions of Blacks led her to sponsor the renaming of five streets in honor of civic leaders, the placement of historical plaques in the Deep Deuce area of Oklahoma City and the placement of Edwards Addition on The National Register of Historic Places. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Afro-American Hall of Fame and received an honorary doctorate degree from Oklahoma City University.

Commissioner Johnson is a member of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, and has two adult children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Dr. Benton C. Clark III attended Cleveland Elementary, Taft Middle and Classen High Schools of Oklahoma City.

After he graduated from Classen High, he went on to graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree.

Then, he served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force before earning a master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctor of philosophy degree in biology and physics from the University of Columbia in New York. Dr. Clark has spent a long career with Lockheed Martin, working with the National Aeronautics & Space Administration in study of the planet Mars, the sun, comets, asteroids and the vacuum of space.

The native Oklahoma Cityan holds five patents and has authored or co-authored more than 140 publications and reports.

In 2011, Dr. Clark received the prestigious Harold Masursky Award for Meritorious Service to Planetary Science, and an asteroid is named in his honor.

Kathy Taylor Kathy Taylor is a business executive and corporate attorney with a distinguished record of public service.

In 2003, she was appointed Oklahoma’s secretary of commerce, tourism and workforce development, as well as executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. During her tenure as commerce secretary, Oklahoma landed the largest Dell Corp. facility in the nation. outside tthat firm’s corporate headquarters and saw the creation of thousands of jobs in Oklahoma. Beginning in 2006, Mrs. Taylor led Tulsa as mayor for a term.

During her administration, she led the way for the creation of after-school and mentoring programs; for the launching of the city’s first entrepreneur business competition; the creation of the Mayor’s Police and Community Coalition; and for the revitalization of downtown Tulsa with the completion of the BOK Event Center and construction of the ONEOK Field. After serving as mayor, she served as the Governor’s Chief of Education Strategy and Innovation and went on to be a resident fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy Institute of Politics, teaching the course, “Pathways to Public Service.” Currently, Mrs. Taylor is the chief executive officer of ImpactTulsa. She serves on the board of directors of Reading Partners, a national organization.

She has been inducted into the Tulsa Historical Society Hall of Fame, and has been honored by a number of civic and social service agencies for her community and state service.