Upper School Principal Search

Upper School Principal Job Description:

View the Upper School Principal Description here.


Announcement from October 12, 2018:

Dear Visitation Community,

One of the highlights of my brief tenure has been getting to know Mrs. Barbara McMullen, the principal of our Upper School.  Barb has dedicated 25 years of her life to Viz and serves as a shining example of the best of our school. That is why I am announcing Barb’s retirement, effective June 2019, with a mixture of sadness for our community and excitement for Barb to pursue the next chapter in her life’s story. Barb is looking forward to dedicating more time to her family and pursuing her interests in and around St. Louis.

As Barb wrote in her letter to me announcing her retirement:

“I have been blessed to have chosen a career path that has given me the opportunity to spend twenty-five years at Visitation Academy, a place that has guided me through the teachings of St. Francis and St. Jane to become a better person.”

It’s impossible to describe the impact she’s had on our students, but the closest I can come is to recall the standing ovation she received when we celebrated her 25 years of service at our Mass of the Holy Spirit in September. Students, parents, faculty, and alumnae applauded with a genuine love for Barb. As we head into this year, please make sure you find the time to stop in and visit Barb so you can reminisce, celebrate, and just plain tell her what she’s meant to the Viz community.

Mrs. McMullen has the privilege of being incredibly beloved despite being Viz’s “top cop” for years. She has never been focused on being a disciplinarian; her approach is through and through about teaching:  encouraging each student to learn, be responsible, and be accountable for her actions. She has overseen an ever-changing curriculum to make sure Viz students are prepared for college and life beyond the classroom. She is a strong advocate for both students and teachers and listens carefully to everyone before making a decision. Her encouragement has resulted in a culture that is uniquely collaborative for both students and faculty.

Barb has truly embraced the teachings of Sts. Francis and Jane as exemplified in her servant leadership. Sacrifice & service; never looking to be the center of attention. Her gentle strength has allowed her students to “Be who you are and be that well in order to give glory to the Divine Artist, whose we are.”

In the coming weeks, we are going to begin the task of hiring a new Upper School Head. Please stay tuned as we start up our process. For now, however, please join me in thanking Mrs. McMullen for everything she has done for all of us.

Blessings in Christ,



Upper School Principal Search, November 2018

To the Visitation Academy Community,

We are committed to a thorough, consistent, and transparent Upper School Principal search process. Given the importance of this search, feedback throughout the search process from as wide a group of stakeholders as possible is necessary. As such, I have outlined the search process on the next page in a reasonable amount of detail so that the Viz community can be aware of, and participate in, the process. We may need to exercise some flexibility on the specific dates as the process unfolds, however, we will keep you informed of any significant changes.

The Search Committee consists of the following members of the Visitation community:

Dr. Marlise Albert, Lower School Principal

Mrs. Mary Bodlovich, Upper School Counselor

Mrs. Debbie Dean, Learning Consultant

Mrs. Anita Dunn, Upper School Math

Mrs. Heather Essig, Upper & Middle School Science

Sister Veronica Haronik, VHM

Mrs. Danielle Harrison ’83, Director of Mission Integration

Ms. Ann Hein ‘82, Trustee

Ms. Kate Hennekes ’04, Alumnae Association Vice President

Mrs. Angie Jung, Middle School Principal

Mr. Michael Mohan, Theology Chair

Mrs. Sarah Walsh ’03, Upper & Middle School Technology

Mrs. Katie Wilson, Upper & Middle School Assistant Principal

The Committee will perform the initial review of candidate resumes and related background information. Please keep in mind that this process is, in its early stages, highly confidential. There may be local candidates who are not ready to “go public” with their candidacy; others some may know from out of town. To protect the privacy of the candidates, the early part of the process is confidential. We have asked members of the Committee to respect that privacy, and we ask you to do the same.

When the Committee has selected a field of finalists, we will invite the Viz community to meet the finalists. Your feedback and wisdom are appreciated and absolutely necessary to inform the decision, so please participate to the best of your ability.

Thanks to all who have participated thus far through meetings and/or by completing the survey. Thanks also in advance for your continued participation in and support of this important process.

In Christ,

David Colón

Head of School


Timeline for the Search Process:

1) Carney Sandoe &Associates Site Visit and Search Committee Meeting: November 7/8
– Constituent engagement meetings with students, parents, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, and the Sisters
-Conduct an extended “Search Readiness Workshop” with the Search Committee to learn current best practices in hiring and to gauge the needs of the Visitation community.

2) Community Survey: Week of November 12
-Determine community priorities

3) Launch National Search and Build a Candidate Pool: Mid-December
-Activate Carney Sandoe’s national and international network of Catholic educators through the Carney Sandoe and Associates’ networks
-Post search link on the Visitation Academy website
-Activate Visitation’s networks in St. Louis and beyond (alumnae, community connections, etc.)

4) Search Committee Meets to Determine Finalist Pool: End of January
-Schedule Search Committee meetings to review pool of candidates
-Select semi-finalists
-Interview semi-finalists
-Conduct reference checks

5) Finalist Campus Visits: Mid-late February through March 15
-Bring three finalists to campus
-Meet with stakeholder groups: students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae, and Sisters
-Conduct further background checks
-Stakeholder groups evaluate candidates and provide feedback to the Search Committee
-Search Committee makes a recommendation to the Head of School
-Head of School selects the next Upper School Principal

Welcoming the New Principal: March 15-July 1
-Develop onboarding plan for the new Upper School Principal
-Plan spring visit for the new Upper School Principal to get to know the Viz community

Please Note: This is a proposed timeline; changes may be made if necessary.

View the Upper School Principal Description here.