Skip To Main Content
Visitation School Names New Head of School

This message was shared with the Vis community via email on March 19.

Dear Visitation School Community,

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.

Dr. Bigelow expresses her enthusiasm for joining Visitation School: "I am thrilled to join the Visitation School community and to become a part of the Sisters’ rich 150-year legacy of academic excellence, educating the hearts and minds of students. I look forward to working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and parents to uphold Visitation’s tradition of fostering compassionate leaders and lifelong learners."

This appointment is the culmination of a nine-month search process. The selection process was thorough and inclusive, driven by input from our community members through a survey, which helped outline the desired qualities for our new Head of School. The nationwide search, conducted by leading search firm, Carney Sandoe & Associates (CSA), resulted in nine qualified candidates who were reviewed by the Search Committee. Following rigorous evaluations, we invited our finalist, Dr. Bigelow, for on-campus meetings and interviews with more than 100 Visitation stakeholders including faculty and staff, Vis leadership team, Board of Trustees, ACF, alumnae, parents and a session with the Visitation Sisters in Minneapolis.

Dr. Bigelow holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University, as well as a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. We are confident that Jennifer will seamlessly integrate into our community and lead with integrity, compassion and vision. 

Rene Gavic will retire from her position as Head of School on June 30, 2024. Dr. Bigelow will begin her role as Head of School on July 1, 2024. Rene will work with Jennifer throughout the month of July fostering a smooth transition, ensuring continuity and stability for our school community. 

Head of School Rene Gavic shares: “I am grateful to the Search Committee for leading such a meticulous process and firmly believe that Jennifer will be a wonderful fit for our Visitation community. I am excited to collaborate with Jennifer throughout the transition period, and am confident that Visitation is well-prepared for its next chapter.”

We look forward to welcoming Jennifer, her husband Todd and daughter Caitlin to Visitation School in the coming months. Our community will have opportunities to meet Jennifer as we prepare for this exciting transition.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Dr. Bigelow and in expressing our deepest gratitude to all who contributed to this important process.



Jamie Candee
Chair, Board of Trustees

Meggan O’Shea
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees