Head of School Appointment

June 28, 2017

To the Visitation Academy Community,

I trust everyone is having a great and blessed summer.  On behalf of the Board and the Search Committee, I would like to update you on the search for the Head of School at Visitation Academy.

As you know, two candidates visited the school at the end of May.  Thank you to all who attended the candidate meetings and gave the Search Committee valuable input.  We are grateful for your participation in the search process.  Your efforts, and those of the Search Committee, have resulted in the selection of the next Head of School.

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. David Colón as Visitation Academy’s permanent Head of School effective July 1, 2018.  David will be joining Visitation with his wife, Nancy, and his family.  David’s resume and his letter to the Visitation community are attached.  Please join me in welcoming David to Visitation Academy!

David is a strong leader and a dynamic educator who we are confident will successfully lead Visitation into the future.  David’s fundamental goals, as outlined by the Board, will be to deliver on the strategic plan and to continue to develop the Catholic, Salesian charism within our community and beyond. We are pleased that David will be in formation with Sister Marie Therese Ruthmann, VHM, the Association of Christian Faithful, and Danielle Harrison, Director of Mission Integration, to learn more about the beautiful Salesian spirituality on which Visitation is built. As you can see from David’s letter, he is eager to start this process.

David will be working with Dan Hildebrand, Interim Head of School, during the course of the next school year.  These two gifted educators, working together and with the Administrative Council, will ensure a very smooth transition on July 1, 2018.  We would be remiss if we did not thank Dan for the amazing work he is doing on behalf of Visitation Academy.  He is a talented leader and his assistance throughout the search process and the transition has been remarkable and a true example of Salesian leadership. Thank you, Dan.

Many thanks to the members of the Search Committee – Lisa Baudendistel-Suntrup ‘81, Katie Lamb ’69, Brad Pittenger, Mary Anne Spruell ‘71, Cassandra Sanford, and Lucia Signorelli – who have worked hard and thoughtfully to get us to this point.  The countless hours they have devoted to this search and their wise counsel have been amazing.  We would also like to thank the Administrative Council for their help, support, and input into this process.

We are excited to take this next step to ensure the future of Visitation Academy.  As it is summer, we will be hosting a series of events welcoming David to the community in the fall once school begins. Stay tuned for more information.  Thanks so much for all the prayers we received in this process and know that they made a difference.

May God be with you always!

Joe McKee

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Chair of the Search Committee



Live + Jesus


Dear Visitation Community,

In our role as sponsors of Visitation Academy, the Sisters and the Association of the Christian Faithful (ACF) are happy to affirm the Board of Trustees’ selection of  David Colón as Head of School, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.

We had an ACF representative who served on the Search Committee, and our full ACF Council had the opportunity to meet twice with David and to approve him as a candidate. After the Search Committee made their choice, they presented his name and qualifications to the Board.  We are delighted to welcome an educator with his strong professional qualities and his enthusiastic, collaborative style.  We look forward to working with David, the rest of the Administration and the Board of Trustees to preserve and enhance the Catholic Salesian identity of the Academy into the future.

We are very grateful to Dan Hildebrand for continuing his wise leadership as Interim Head of School during the 2017-2018 school year.

We appreciate the outstanding work of Joe McKee and the Search Committee for the past two years.

Sincerely and joyfully,

Sr. Marie Therese Ruthmann, VHM

Sr. Veronica Haronik, VHM

Sr. Mary Grace McCormack, VHM

Julie Ledbetter, Moderator of the ACF


Dear Visitation Academy Community,

The Administrative Council had the opportunity to meet twice with David Colón, and we enthusiastically support his appointment as Head of School.  We believe that David has the experience, commitment, and vision to lead Visitation into the future.  We look forward to working with David to continue to provide an exceptional academic experience for our students.

We would like to thank the Search Committee for their tireless efforts on behalf of Visitation.    We would also like to thank Dan Hildebrand for his outstanding leadership as Interim Head of School.


Mrs. Barbara McMullen, Upper School Principal

Mrs. Jane Eschmann, Middle School Principal

Mrs. Katie Wilson, Upper and Middle School Assistant Principal

Mrs. Sherry Williams, Director of Finance and Operations

Mrs. Jenny Lucas, Director of Advancement


A Letter from David Colón:

Dear Members of the Visitation Community,

I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to be Visitation Academy’s new head of school starting July 1, 2018.  To put it mildly, my family and I are thrilled to be joining your community. As I’ve been processing this amazing new opportunity, I’m counting the blessings of joining Viz.

First and foremost, Visitation’s Catholic and Salesian identity make it a match for my own values and those of my family.  St. Francis’ dictum: “Be who you are and be that well to give glory to the Divine Artist whose handiwork you are” speaks to me.  Finding a community that embraces such a vision is something special and rare and appeals to me as a professional educator, as a father, as a husband and as a believer.  Meeting with Viz students during my interview, I noted immediately their pride in the school.  Every student, from those who had recently arrived to newly graduated alums, expressed her gratitude to the school for giving her a platform to be her best self.

Also important to me is Visitation’s sense of place.  There is a sense of permanence – both temporal and spiritual.  Viz has been around for a very long time and the school values and respects its identity.  The proud alumnae I encountered throughout my visit gave me a clear sense of their commitment to Visitation Academy’s success.  Parents talking about their own experience and their daughters’ time speaks volumes about loyalty and commitment.  The continued presence of the Sisters also provides Visitation with a rootedness in its identity.  Their stewardship of the school’s Salesian identity impressed me; the opportunity to learn from them is a truly unique opportunity.

But here’s the thing that appeals to me beyond the school’s identity: Visitation is going places.  Within a sense of connectedness, Visitation Academy has a wonderful commitment to progress and improvement to make sure our students are prepared to bring Salesian values into a world that needs them so much.   As I read through the school’s strategic plan, I saw a community that is dedicated to staying rooted in its history, traditions and values without losing a plan for the future.  Our plan sets forth a course that focuses on student engagement, educational innovation, and preparing young women for a constantly changing world.

I could write an exhaustive treatise on my decision to come to Visitation Academy.  There are lots of reasons why I want to be a part of the community.  But I keep coming back to one overwhelming thing: during all of my interactions, and I mean all of them, I felt a sense of home.  Sister Marie Therese asked me why I was interested in Viz and I said, “I’m looking for a home.”   Visitation’s values and vision match my own in a way that I’ve never before experienced during my twenty plus years in the profession.  I truly feel I am coming home; I am honored and excited to be a part of this grand adventure.

Yours in Christ,


Click here to view David Colón’s Resume.