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Head of School Search

Visitation Names New Head of School

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Bigelow as the next Head of School of Visitation School, effective July 1, 2024.

We would like to thank the Search Committee for their dedication and tireless efforts throughout the search process as well as the Board of Trustees and the Association of Christian Faithful (ACF). We are also immensely grateful to Rene Gavic for her exceptional 37 years of service and leadership, helping to shape the trajectory of our beloved Visitation School.


We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Bigelow who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to our community. She has served as Interim Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, demonstrating her commitment to academic excellence and Catholic education. Dr. Bigelow has held various leadership roles, including Dean of Academics at St. Gertrude High School and Benedictine College Preparatory, Associate Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. She has a proven track record of transformative leadership, grounded in a deep understanding of educational best practices and a commitment to Catholic, Salesian values.

Read the full announcement here.

Head of School Search Process

Visitation School is pleased to announce that we have retained the services of Carney, Sandoe & Associates (CS&A), one of the nation’s leading consulting firms which have worked with over 1,800 independent, private, boarding, and charter schools in 48 states and 32 countries to provide exceptional faculty recruitment, head of school search, and strategic consulting services. CS&A has a dedicated Catholic school practice and extensive experience in the Twin Cities market. They understand and embrace the importance of mission and traditions that distinguish Catholic schools like Visitation. Because of this experience and their vast networks, they are able to successfully place transformational leaders in independent, Catholic schools.

The search process we have devised, in partnership with CS&A, is protocol-driven and centers around comprehensive engagement with all stakeholders. There will be opportunities for input, and the search committee will include faculty and staff representatives. Members of the CS&A team will be visiting our campus for two full days to learn more about Visitation School and what we are looking for in our next head of school. During their visit, they will meet with key constituents such as faculty, staff, parents, students, alumnae, donors, and the Board of Trustees. 

Our goals for the search process are as follows: 

  • Comprehensive engagement with all community stakeholders, which will provide multiple opportunities for input and engagement from donors, faculty and staff, parents, and alumnae.
  • Frequent communication. As the process progresses, we will keep our community updated.  
  • Select the very best Head of School who is capable of honoring and preserving the Sisters' living legacy and our Salesian values, while also demonstrating transformational school leadership and academic excellence.

We encourage you to bookmark this page as it will be the central location for both applicants and community members seeking updates. 

Search Committee Members

Jamie Candee, Board Chair
Meggan O'Shea, Vice Chair
Sister Mary Frances Reis, VHM '55, ACF Member
Anna Marie Ettel '63, ACF Member
Michelle Culligan '82, Board Member
Helen Twomey, School Leadership Representative
Elizabeth Arnstein, Faculty Representative
Jackie Kelly Hegarty '04, Alumnae Representative
Phillip Goldman, Past Board Member and Community Representative
Mary Kenkel, Past Parents' Association President 

Prayer for Head of School Search

Loving God, we entrust our school to you, and we are grateful beyond measure for the Living Legacy of gentle strength, true humility and joyful optimism the Sisters have given us. Upon this unique foundation, Visitation School has provided excellence in education for preschool through senior high for 150 years.

We pray that Visitation School will carry this beautiful legacy into the next 150 years. As Visitation prepares to choose a new Head of School, we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring the right person forward to lead in the spirit of the Living Legacy of the Sisters.


Visitation School


Carrying our Legacy Forward Video

Watch Visitation Sisters, Rene Gavic and Anne Williams share their reflections.