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Domestic violence shelter seeks leader

The Dawn Center's executive director has resigned, citing health problems. The search for a new leader is under way.

By MARY SPICUZZA
Published March 22, 2005


BROOKSVILLE - The county's domestic violence shelter is searching for a new leader.

Stephanie Walley resigned from her role as executive director of the Dawn Center last week because of health issues, according to board president Nancy Robinson.

"Everything is fine at the Dawn Center," Robinson said. "We've had a change in leadership."

Walley had been executive director since 2002. She took over after a tumultuous period when officials at the nonprofit United Way organization cleaned house after revelations of unsanitary conditions at the center's administrative office and thrift center.

In October 2001, the organization got a new board of directors, which was dubbed the "crisis board."

But Robinson said the center itself is doing fine. She declined to discuss Walley's specific health issues, citing privacy concerns.

"Stephanie did an excellent job," Robinson said. "She's going to be missed, you know. Hard shoes to fill."

Walley could not be reached for comment Monday.

Before serving as the center's executive director, Walley had worked as the chief operating officer for Sunrise of Pasco County, a domestic violence agency, and served as the Salvation Army's domestic violence shelter director in Pasco. She also worked as a supervisor at the Spring, Hillsborough County's domestic violence shelter.

Before that, Walley had worked as a counselor with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in her native England.

When Walley was named executive director at the Dawn Center, she spoke optimistically of her future with the center.

"I know that the (Dawn Center) staff have worked very hard in pulling things back together," she said in April 2002. "Obviously, this is a challenge, but I feel I'm up to it. From here, it is onward and upward."

Robinson said the center has just begun the process of searching for a new executive director. She said the new director's salary will depend on experience.

--Mary Spicuzza can be reached at mspicuzza@sptimes.com or 352 848-1432.

[Last modified March 22, 2005, 01:21:16]


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