Ex-principal's blog brings up his 'mistakes'
Steve Van Gorden, who resigned last year as Zephyrhills High School principal and mayor amid allegations he sexually harassed several school district employees, has launched a new venture: a blog on leadership. The blog (stevevangorden.wordpress.com) focuses on "out of the box thinking to lead in schools, communities, and business." And one of the first items he tackled was the decision he says killed his career. "I hired a lady that I dated," Van Gorden wrote Monday in a post titled "Drawing lines in leadership." "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. THAT was the BIGGEST mistake in my life and my life has been impacted by that decision in every way." After resigning as principal in November, Van Gorden said he "made some mistakes" and "let my personal life jeopardize my judgment." But he later said his side of the story wasn't fully told and that some of the allegations against him weren't entirely true. His blog post contains his most detailed response to date. 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."
NEW PORT RICHEY
Elks event benefits Safety Town
The New Port Richey Elks Lodge 2284 will host a fundraiser to benefit Safety Town at 5 p.m. Jan. 19 at 7201 Congress St. There will be dinner, cocktails and dancing to music from Bobby V. Tickets cost $15. Call (727) 846-8012.
Hospice to host pet loss workshop
HPH Hospice will host a pet loss workshop for adults from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Humana, 7920 Gall Blvd. The workshop is facilitated by experienced HPH Hospice bereavement counselors, with special guest Carolyn Hodges of Zephyrhills, who will share her personal experience with pet bereavement. Refreshments will be provided. Due to space limitations, preregistration is requested by Jan. 21. To preregister, call Jane toll-free at 1-800-486-8784.
Dental nonprofit opens thrift shop
Smile Faith Foundation, a nonprofit providing charitable dental work and counseling to people in the Tampa Bay area, will have a ribbon cutting and grand opening at noon Feb. 1 for its new thrift store and coffee shop at 8125 U.S. 19. State Rep. Mike Fasano will be the guest speaker. Refreshments will be provided. For information, call (727) 807-7958 or visit smilefaith.com.
Writers workshop meets on Tuesdays
The Tarpon Springs Recreation Department is offering a new Aspiring Writers Workshop at 10 a.m. Tuesday mornings at the Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 Walton Ave. The workshop will meet for two hours and costs $40 a month. Call to preregister, (727) 942-5628.