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Mary Walker receives MAS 2011 Staff Member of the Year award

Superintendent Scott Monson congratulates Mary Walker after she is named Support Staff Member of the Year.

MORRIS - On the twentieth day of every month Mary Walker impacts everyone in the Morris Area School District.

As the district payroll and human resource manager, Walker helps make sure everyone in the district - from regular staff all the way to ticket takers at athletic events - gets paid on the twentieth, whether payment happens via direct deposit or with a paper check.

Walker was named Morris' 2011 Support Staff Person of the Year at the district's staff appreciation breakfast last week. The other nominees for the award were Vicky Brandt, Deniese Erp, Claire Exner, Kathy Feuchtenberger, Deann Recker, Bonnie Schmidt and Nancy Zimmerman.

"That was so exciting," said Walker on receiving the award. "It was really exciting to see the support of everybody else, clapping and whistling. ... I'm just tickled people appreciate what I'm helping them do."

Walker works in the district office doing payroll and human resources. She is responsible for making sure all district staff - full time, part-time, and contract employees - are paid each month, and helping employees navigate insurance questions.

Although payroll and insurance might seem a little dry, Walker said her work is constantly changes and she finds it "interesting every day."

"I find it really exciting to see all the people wanting to work here and meeting with them, explaining the things they need to know," said Walker. "It's a lot of questions and answers and trying to keep on top of everything."

Walker has worked in the district for almost 12 years. Prior to starting in the district office, Walker worked at the Cyrus elementary school, first as a para-educator and later in the front office.

All three of Walker's children - Michell, Brent and Christopher - attended Cyrus. Her daughter had the distinction of being the final graduate to walk across the stage in 1989, the last year high school students attended. Both sons graduated from Morris after the Cyrus school closed.

Walker is originally from Hancock, and her husband, Richard, is from Cyrus.

In the summer, Walker enjoys golfing, and in the winter she's an avid bowler. Her life-time high score is 273, but she now averages around 138. She's also part of a weekly bowling league - Tuesday nights you can find her at Crystal Lanes with the other members of the Hancock Equipment league.

"I have to get up off my chair behind the desk to keep active," said Walker. "I like to walk. We live on [Long Lake] so we have a gorgeous place to walk. We live in a wonderful area for what we do.