Make us your home page


Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Former Zephyrhills High principal suggests his compassion led to his undoing



Steve Van Gorden resigned his post as Zephyrhills High School principal in early November, amid allegations that he sexually harassed several staff members. He said at the time that he "made some mistakes" and " let my personal life jeopardize my judgment."

As Van Gorden struggled to maintain his public presence as a leader of the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, noontime Rotary Club and City Council (he's since resigned all three), he backpedaled to a degree. He claimed his side of the story wasn't fully told, and that some of the allegations against him - which he didn't challenge when resigning - were not entirely true.

Heading into the new year, Van Gorden has launched a new blog focusing on "out of the box thinking to lead in schools, communities, and business." One of the first items he tackles is his decision that killed his career. 

"I hired a lady that I dated. She was a single mom with two kids. She was bright and had the potential to move up the ranks quickly. I hired her because I wanted to help her family," he wrote in a post titled Drawing the lines in leadership. "THAT was the BIGGEST mistake in my life and my life has been impacted by that decision in every way."

The lesson he took from this: "(K)eep healthy boundaries. Don’t hire anyone that you had a prior relationship with and surely don’t EVER - and I can not stress this enough – forget they are your subordinate and, despite any prior friendship, you are the boss and need to act like it."

Still no word on what new job Van Gorden has taken.

[Last modified: Monday, December 31, 2012 2:01pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours