United Community Center names new executive director to succeed Ricardo Diaz

Laura Gutiérrez will take the helm in 2020

United Community Center Laura Gutierrez
Laura Gutierrez

Last updated on November 11th, 2019 at 08:58 am

The United Community Center has named Laura Gutiérrez as its next executive director.

Gutiérrez, who has been associate executive director of the organization since January, will succeed longtime leader Ricardo Diaz when he retires in May 2020.

Before joining UCC, Gutiérrez was secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services. She previously was vice president of academic affairs at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee and, before that, worked for UCC as assistant principal and director of instruction at Bruce Guadalupe Community School.

“I am humbled and honored to take the lead to ensure UCC continues to make a significant impact on several generations of our Hispanic community,” Gutiérrez  said. “The team at UCC is dedicated and committed, and it will be my privilege to work together and provide new opportunities for the families we serve.”

Gutiérrez will officially assume the executive director role on May 1, 2020.

“These are exciting times and the UCC Board of Directors is confident that Laura can lead UCC into the future, building on our 50 year tradition of service as we continue to grow and ensure all children and families in our community can succeed,” said Jose Olivieri, UCC board chair. “We have been fortunate to have an amazing leader in Ricardo Diaz for many years, and his passion and relentless drive has allowed the agency to help thousands realize their potential.The Board has carefully and deliberately planned for his retirement and knows the future is bright for UCC.”

Diaz has led the organization as executive director for the past 17 years, and for several years in the late 1980s.

Ricardo Diaz

He’s overseen UCC as it’s undergone substantial growth. From when Diaz joined the organization in 2003, enrollment at UCC’s Bruce-Guadalupe Community School has grown from 600 to 1,700 students. Diaz has also led the agency through several capital campaigns, including the Building on Success campaign, which raised $8 million to expand BGCS and build a new technology and trade focused middle school, the UCC Acosta Middle School.

Currently underway is a $9.5 million campaign to build a new UCC Early Learning Academy. 

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.