ANNA MARIA -- The executive director of the Anna Maria Island Community Center resigned Monday, citing a long-term separation from her family she has wanted to end for a while but felt she couldn't until the center was more stable.
Dawn Stiles has served the AMICC since April 2013 and said originally her husband was supposed to join her in August 2013. Instead, he was offered a job in Maine and they decided to make long distance work for a while.
The board accepted her resignation Monday, saying it understood her decision and appreciated the work she had done for the center.
"We appreciate Dawn's service to this community, especially given the time and distance it took her from her family," board chairman Scott Rudacille said in a statement. "While we regret her decision, we certainly understand and accept it."
Stiles said she'd been planning to leave the job earlier than now but wanted to wait until the financially troubled center was more stable.
"I didn't want to leave them during a crisis," Stiles said. "But revenues are picking up, and we have more board members with strong financial backgrounds. I feel I'm leaving it in good hands."
The center was in its worst shape in June, when it only had $60,000 left in the operating account -- only enough to keep the center running an additional month. But donations came in, keeping the center open through the summer.
The center has also lost money every year except one since 2008, when the new building was finished. It had a small surplus in 2010.
"The last several months have been both challenging and exciting as the board has been significantly strengthened with capable new members. They are carefully examining all aspects of center operations in order to increase revenues and reduce costs while making full use of the facilities in order to be respon
sive to a much broader community base," Stiles said in a statement. "This, along with a revised and dedicated staff, has given me comfort that the center is in good hands."
Stiles added that since the island is coming into its busy season, she feels the center will have an easier time than it did in the summer months.
"The community should take my resignation as a sign of good things coming," she said.
Rudacille said board members have not yet identified the process they will use to find Stiles' replacement and that he couldn't comment on the center's current financial situation.
Stiles said she would still keep her condo in Bradenton Beach and would come down to visit often with her husband, especially given Maine's colder climate.
"I love this community," she said. "I'm going to miss it."