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Published: Monday, 2/25/2013

Adelante picks 6th leader since ’10

Latino Resource Center’s executive director ousted

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The revolving door continues to spin at Toledo’s Adelante Latino Resource Center, which recently named its sixth leader since 2010.

The nonprofit agency named Wendy Ziems-Mueller as its new interim director.

She replaces Mary Price, who had served as the agency’s executive director since August, 2011. Ms. Price’s last day with the organization was Jan. 18. Mrs. Ziems-Mueller said the reason for Ms. Price’s dismissal was because “the [Adelante] board wanted to go in a different direction.”

She declined to elaborate and referred further questions to Adelante Board President Carrie Sponseller, who did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Ms. Price, who acknowledged she was no longer employed by Adelante, also declined to give any reason that led led to her departure.

Instead, she pointed out that during her tenure, she “raised more than $175,000 in resources while building operational and program infrastructure."

“I ask the community for support of an organization promoting early literacy, academic success, and healthy lifestyles impacting people to live their best life,” Ms. Price wrote in a statement. “They should discover Adelante, it will impact their life.”

Established in 1996, Adelante’s original mission focused on drug-related services. The agency at 520 Broadway has expanded programming over the years to include various summer and after-school programming for youth and adults, with topics such as financial literacy, home ownership, and services for pregnant women.

The agency’s leadership woes appear to have begun after former executive director Sonia Trouche left the organization June 30, 2010. During her six years at the helm, Adelante prospered and introduced many community programs and services, officials have said.

Claudia Annoni, who was director of programs and services at the time, served as interim director until the board hired Julia Torres Barden, who started with Adelante Aug. 2, 2010. Ms. Annoni, who had applied for the top position, left the organization after Ms. Torres Barden was hired.

Mrs. Torres Barden was fired six months later, in an acrimonious departure that included accusations that she had felt, “bullied, intimidated, and harassed” by board members.

The board issued a brief statement at the time saying, “…a change in the day-to-day leadership was essential,” and stated it would refuse to publically discuss the incident further.

Associate Director Stephanie Serda served as Adelante’s interim director until Ms. Price’s hiring.

Mrs. Ziems-Mueller previously served as Adelante’s board president.

She stepped down to assume the interim director’s position. She is an assistant professor and chairman of business online programs at Tiffin University.

Mrs. Ziems-Mueller said the board has not set a timetable to hire a new director.

The agency has struggled financially in recent years because of reduced state funding and the loss of several grants that have led to reduced services, including one that provides services to domestic violence victims, Ms. Price and other Adelante staff have said.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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