People take for granted all the work that the financial specialist does at the school. Julia Walsh has been working here for 15 years and most of her work goes unrecognized.
Walsh worked for a small bank called Equitable Federal Savings Bank (on Rockville Pike) for five years. Back in the early 1990s, banks were downsizing and her branch was sold to Maryland Federal Savings Bank. She was relocated to a branch in Wheaton where she worked for another two years. “Wheaton was not a great area and after my third bank robbery, I quit. The first two happened so fast and the robber was in and out without incident. The third time, there were two of them and one was waving a gun around. I thought, third time’s the charm. I need to go somewhere else. I went that afternoon to the MCPS hiring office to complete my application for employment. The next day I put in my resignation with the bank,” Walsh said.
Walsh started with MCPS in 1995 and with Wootton in 2005. Walsh started working in MCPS as a lunch aid and worked her way up to her current position as the School Financial Specialist. “I like the school better than the bank. I like working with young people and feeling like I belong to a real community. Banking is sort of like working in retail. You do get to know your customers but you don’t really feel like you are helping them. I feel like I am making a difference working here and that the work I do is appreciated,” Walsh said.
The finance office is open before school, during lunch and after school selling agenda books and is also available to give lockers and elevator keys. “She was really kind and helpful when I needed an elevator key,” junior Sarah Woodward said.
When students are in class, her day consists of processing all of the school’s deposits, cutting checks for all of the expenses that need to be paid and reconciling obligations. “We are not allowed to hold money overnight so I have to make a deposit every day that I receive money (which is almost every day). Each year my transactions total is about $1.2 million. Last year I cut 794 checks for the school and processed 804 deposits,” Walsh said.
Walsh is also in charge of fundraisers and field trips. This year her duties were extended to include parking permits and working with administrator Joseph Mamana and college/career information coordinator Kathleen Carr with the new AP exam payment process. “I work with closely with the SGA, drama, ninth through 12th grade planning groups, and all of the school’s honor societies and clubs when it comes to anything financial (shows, fundraisers, dances, membership dues, etc). The largest department I work with on an almost daily basis is athletics. I have to prepare and reconcile all game ticket revenue and pay all of their bills. Athletic transactions alone are about 25 percent of the school’s annual financial transactions,” Walsh said.
When Walsh is not working she is spending time with her grandchildren and making jewelry.
Her designs are mostly hand woven with Swarovski crystals, pearls and semi-precious beads. She has been featured In Beadwork Magazine for her designs.
Walsh sells her jewelry at local craft shows. “I don’t sell my jewelry in shows year round because if I make it too much of a ‘business’, then it will drain the fun out of a hobby I love. I sell pieces to support my crafting habit; not to make a livable profit. I get more from the admiration of the work I do than the actual sale. I actually had a woman buy a necklace/earring set from me and she told me that she was going to wear it to her son’s wedding – now all she had to do was find a dress to go with it. That was a huge compliment to me. You can check my work out on Facebook at CrystalisDesignsByJulie,” Walsh said.