PORTLAND – Spurwink Services, one of Maine’s largest mental-health care and special-education providers, will soon be seeking new leadership.

Dawn Stiles, president of the private, nonprofit agency, has announced that she will leave her position in March to become executive director of the Anna Maria Island Community Center in Florida, where she has a home.

Stiles has worked at Spurwink for 13 years, including six years as president. During that time, she has steered the agency through the “choppy waters” of federal Medicaid funding that challenge most nonprofits, said Dr. Daniel Fishbein, chairman of Spurwink’s board of directors.

“The result (is) a larger, stronger and financially healthy Spurwink that serves its clients with excellence,” Fishbein said in a news release.

The board will establish a search committee to find Stiles’ replacement.

Stiles joined Spurwink in 2000 after serving as deputy bureau director for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked for a decade. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maine.

Stiles said she’s most proud that, under her leadership, Spurwink has been “able to make it through years of budget cuts and maintain our strength and ability to grow and continue to serve the community.”

She said she will miss her colleagues, friends and family members in Maine.

Spurwink is a nationally accredited agency that serves about 5,000 children and adults each year in a variety of residential and community settings throughout New England. It has a yearly budget of more than $50 million and about 1,000 employees.

On Anna Maria Island, a Gulf Coast community of about 6,500 full-time residents near Sarasota, Fla., Stiles will oversee a $1 million budget and a 12-member staff to provide recreational, educational and support programs for people of all ages.

Stiles, who has a home in Augusta, recently bought a home on the island with her fiance, George Campbell, a business developer and consultant from Portland.

Stiles learned about the job opening at the community center and decided to aim for a career change. She was selected from more than 100 applicants, according to the Anna Maria Island Sun.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Stiles said Monday. “The island has a real sense of community. Their most important institutions are their schools and their community center. They come together to support their kids and their seniors and everyone in between.”

Spurwink plans to hold a farewell party for Stiles, with details to come in the near future.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]