Head of School, Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School

Location: Washington, DC, United States
Head of School
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Washington, D.C.
Start Date: July 2019

Georgetown Visitation’s Head of School, Dan Kerns, announced his intention to step down at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. For more than 30 years, Dan has been a strong, vital presence at Visitation. Thanks to his leadership and collaboration with the Sisters, Georgetown Visitation is thriving, forward-looking, and committed to providing an exceptional experience, enriched by the traditions and rich legacy that make Visitation unique. The community looks forward to welcoming a new leader ready and eager to build upon this strong foundation and lead Visitation into its next chapter.

Georgetown Visitation, founded in 1799 by the Sisters of the Visitation, is an all-girls college preparatory school rooted in the Roman Catholic faith and Salesian tradition. Our mission is to empower our students to meet the demands and challenges of today’s rapidly changing and morally complex world. We guide our students to become self-reliant, intellectually mature, and morally responsible women of faith, vision, and purpose. We provide the spiritual grounding, rigorous academics, diverse extracurricular opportunities, and supportive and joyous community that enable our students to cultivate their God-given gifts.
Our students graduate with enriched intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills, developed creativity, leadership experience, and a commitment to living their faith through service to others. Our rigorous college preparatory program, including 30 Advanced Placement and Honors classes, is taught by a faculty dedicated to their academic disciplines and to empowering the young women in their care. With an average class size of 15 and a low student-teacher ratio (1:9), each student receives a high level of attention. Students also have many opportunities to explore their interests and build leadership skills by participating in our award-winning athletic and performing arts programs, Christian service opportunities, and more than 50 co-curricular clubs. Our cherished annual traditions including Marshmallow Roast, Gold-White, Living Rosary, and Junior Ring Ceremony provide special opportunities for students to build community and create lifelong friends. Learn more at www.visi.org.

The new Head of School must be a visionary leader who will honor Georgetown Visitation’s long and cherished traditions while inspiring innovation to ensure we prepare our students for the demands of an evolving and complex world.
As the primary liaison to the Boards of both the Monastery and School, the new Head of School will build strong, trusted relationships to ensure proper governance, thoughtful cooperation, and careful consideration of key decisions. The Head of School will facilitate the development and implementation of a strategic plan that incorporates feedback from all community stakeholders.
This role requires extraordinary emotional intelligence and excellent communication skills -- a desire to actively listen and solicit feedback, the sensitivity to respond to different perspectives, and a talent for navigating complex challenges. As a practicing Catholic, the new Head will embody and model the "Little Virtues" – such as kindness, gentleness, patience, and humility – extolled by St. Jane de Chantal, founder of the Visitation Order. This individual will work diligently to understand and lead through the challenges of an ever-changing world while protecting the never-changing values of our Catholic faith and Salesian tradition.
Our Head of School must maintain Visitation’s commitment to academic excellence, support and enhance Visitation’s educational vision, and ensure appropriate resources to advance a rigorous and responsive curricular and co-curricular program.  Our new Head will recognize the need for appropriate spiritual, academic, social, and emotional balance to ensure our students’ personal well-being and capacity to thrive. This requires an understanding of and appreciation for the specific needs of adolescent girls. The new Head will champion our students and all-girls education, engaging directly with students and seeking opportunities to get to know their daily challenges and aspirations. The Head also will work collaboratively with the Principal and faculty to evaluate and incorporate best pedagogical practices relevant for an all-girls education.
Our new leader also will bring the business acumen to ensure the financial sustainability of the school. This will require the new Head of School to play a significant role in fundraising by building strong relationships with our existing generous supporters – including a network of more than 6,000 alumnae spanning seven decades – and identifying new sources of funding. The Head of School also will work closely with advancement, the business office, communications, and the facilities staff to drive excellence and efficiency in the day-to-day operations of the school. This includes maintaining our beautiful 23-acre campus with four academic buildings, a library, a performing arts center, an athletic center, two playing fields (including a turf field), and four tennis courts.  The Head of School is responsible for all issues related to campus safety and security, crisis management planning and response, and all legal and liability inquiries.
Five years ago, we made a substantial shift in our leadership model by hiring a Principal to serve as a close partner to the Head of School. While both positions work collaboratively and share responsibilities across many aspects of school life, the Head of School focuses primarily on strategy, fundraising, and day-to-day business operations, while the Principal focuses primarily on academic leadership, curriculum development, and faculty engagement.
The Head of School will empower the senior administrative team to meet their objectives by cultivating a culture of collaboration and providing clear direction, mentorship, and coaching. Similarly, the Head of School will nurture a spirit of open and transparent communication and relationship-building among all members of the Visitation community. This includes continuing the close relationship between the Monastery and the school, appreciating the Sisters’ vital role in the life of the community.
The new Head of School will be a servant leader – one who empowers and enables all members of the community to find their voice and ability to contribute.  The Head of School will provide clear direction while cultivating collaboration.  Yet, this leader must be endowed with sound judgment and eagerness to consider diverse perspectives before making decisions for the greater good of the school community.
We expect the new Head of School to serve as a key voice representing Georgetown Visitation and our Salesian charism.  This responsibility for external communication is both local and national and includes all constituent groups, including current and past parents, alumnae, friends, and local leaders. This will include building relationships with other educators and administrators to promote sharing of best practices that advance the school and our mission.
  • A practicing Roman Catholic who embraces and embodies a strong commitment to our faith
  • An advanced degree and previous experience in a senior academic leadership or teaching role at a school or educational organization
  • Demonstrated understanding of or experience with an all-girls education
  • A commitment to community engagement and willingness to nurture a spirit of open and transparent communication and relationship-building with all members of the Visitation community – the Sisters, students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae, Board members, and external partners
  • A proven ability to develop strong, trusted relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience successfully leading a team with a demonstrated ability to empower team members to meet their objectives and cultivate a culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Demonstrated experience successfully leading and implementing a strategic planning process with clear, actionable outcomes
  • A successful record of fundraising, including experience with major gifts and planned giving
  • Demonstrated ability to drive operational efficiency
  • Experience serving as a public spokesperson on behalf of an organization with a gift for communicating and influencing others to support a cause

 The Search Committee has retained LeaderFit to facilitate the Head of School search. If you would like to apply for this position, please click "Apply Now" and upload your resume and cover letter outlining your relevant qualifications. If you wish to nominate a candidate for this position, please email search.committee@visi.org.  For more information and updates regarding the search, please visit https://www.visi.org/about/head-of-school-search.
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