Visitation announces new head of school

Rene Gavic
Rene Gavic

Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights announced last week that Rene Gavic has been named head of school, effective July 1, 2016.

Gavic will succeed Dr. Dawn Nichols, who announced last year that she will retire after 16 years as head of school.

Gavic brings more than 25 years of education experience to her new role. She began her career at Visitation in 1987 as the coach of the track and field teams, adding cross country in 1989.

In 1990, Gavic joined the faculty as a mathematics teacher. In 2002, she was named dean of students for Visitation's Upper School, a position that was later expanded to director of student life. Last year, she became director of Visitation's Upper School.

Gavic earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics education from the University of Minnesota and a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton, Ohio.

In 2012, the Minnesota Coalition of Women in Athletic Leadership honored Gavic with a Breaking Barriers Award for making sports accessible to girls of all races, ages and ability levels.

Gavic was selected after a six-month comprehensive national search by Educational Directions, Inc., a Rhode Island-based search consultant. "The search was a unified effort by many dedicated members of our community:  parents, faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumnae, and members of the Board of Trustees," said Ozzie Nelson, chair of the 10-member search committee and former chairman of the board of trustees.

Sister Mary Denise Villaume, class of 1956, superior of the Visitation Monastery and a member of both the school's board of trustees and the search committee, said, "Visitation combines an extraordinary history with a clear vision for the future, and Rene will be instrumental in leading our school in a very competitive landscape and changing world."

"I am deeply honored and extremely thrilled to have been selected to lead Visitation," Gavic said. "I feel tremendously blessed to be a part of this amazing community and I look forward to leading this great school for many years to come."

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