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Strategic Plan

Dear Friends of Visitation,

At her 70th Visitation reunion, Mary Jo Schmitt Sierco ‘52 shared, “The spirit that is Georgetown Visitation continues to be vital and robust. There is a solid foundation, one based on Roman Catholic principles, and on Salesian values. The foundation is strong. It cradles a traditional past, but it also supports a firm present. And it allows a continuing journey into an optimistic and hopeful future.”

We could not say it better ourselves. Our challenge as leaders of this great school is to cherish and preserve our faithful legacy, while evolving to meet the demands of “a rapidly changing and morally complex world.” This is what we set out to do in crafting our strategic plan: to embrace and elevate that which defines the spirit of Georgetown Visitation while identifying new opportunities for progress as we approach our 225th year.

We want to preserve and celebrate our Roman Catholic faith, our Salesian heritage, the Sisters’ pioneering spirit, and our beautiful home here in Georgetown, even as we enhance our student programming.

Today’s young women face a wealth of challenges educators just a few decades ago could not imagined, from social media to a global pandemic. The world they enter when they leave Visitation is beset by challenges that demand leaders with a strong moral compass, creative problem solving skills, a collaborative spirit, and the ability to communicate effectively. 

For centuries, Visitation has educated women of faith, vision, and purpose with these very skills. As we charge forward, we will further expand students' opportunities to explore themes and ideas across disciplines, leverage emerging technology, and capitalize on our hometown as a living classroom. We are also expanding and deepening our support for students’ wellbeing, recognizing that our girls’ thrive when we nurture their spirit, mind, and body.

This vision for the future of our beloved school represents the work of many hands and the love of many hearts. Hundreds of students, parents, faculty and staff generously shared their time and insights into what we are doing well and where we can grow. We met with Catholic education experts to identify how Visitation can continue to adapt to the changing educational landscape. And, finally, a dedicated team took all of these insights and crafted a thoughtful, actionable plan to move us boldly and faithfully into the future. 

We did all of this in the spirit of the Visitation, with the Sisters as our models - true women of faith, vision, and purpose. For more than 220 years, these dedicated women have modeled courage and gentle strength in advancing our founders’ vision of faith and excellence for Catholic women. We are deeply indebted to each of them and to all of our lay brothers and sisters who have helped continue the Sisters’ legacy.

In Christ,

Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson


Mr. Shawn McLaughlin

Chair, Board of Directors

Since 1799, Georgetown Visitation has been a pioneer, both in offering an exceptional Catholic, Salesian education and in empowering women. This is our heritage and our vision for the future. Our rapidly changing and morally complex world needs women of faith, vision, and purpose, women with the technical skills, ability to communicate, team-oriented approach, and—most importantly—moral compass to create solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges. The faith, education, and community Visitation offers its students shape their vision and purpose, empowering them to change the world.

As we approach our 225th year, Visitation must embrace and build upon our legacy not only to empower our students, but to model excellence in Catholic women’s education in America. To do this, we must:

  • Carry Our Charism
  • Educate the Mind and Heart
  • Embrace Faithful Stewardship

We live by St. Francis de Sales’ exhortation to “Be who you are and be that well so that you may bring honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork you are.” This Strategic Plan is our vision for embracing Georgetown Visitation’s unique gifts so that we may honor our Lord God.

Georgetown Visitation is grateful for the faith-filled reflection, thoughtful insights, constructive dialogue, and collaboration of our community in creating this plan. This vision for the future would not be possible without the tireless efforts of our Strategic Planning Team, the support of the Center for Catholic School Excellence (CCSE) at Mount St. Mary’s University, and the faithful guidance of the Board of Trustees.
To create this Strategic Plan, the team at CCSE surveyed parents, faculty, and students; met with faculty and administration, and reviewed recent assessments, including Visitation’s 2017 Middle States accreditation and our 2019–2020 Visitation Salesian Network selfassessment and report. The CCSE team used six focus areas to analyze this information: Catholic Identity & Mission; Marketing; Curriculum; Technology; Governance; and Finance. This analysis served as a jumping-off point for robust discussion among the Strategic Planning Team, which worked together to craft this focused plan.

Dr. Barbara McGraw Edmondson, President

Désirée Bayonet, Director of Instructional Technology

Kathleen Brogan ’99, Board Member

Eric Chalfin, Math Faculty

Caroline Coleman Handorf ’96, Director of Communications

Quillian Haralson, Science Faculty

Raynetta Jackson-Clay, Dean of Student Life

Rachel Jones ’08, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Kerry Kaminski, Director of Learning Support

Olivia Wills Kane ’85, Director of St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center

Julie O’Malley Moeller ’93, Board Member

Dr. Luke O’Connell, Religion Faculty

Daniel Petri, History Faculty

Leonor Limarzi Ponzio ’97, Principal

Mary Veith ’05, English Faculty

Our Mission

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.

Our Vision

To create a holistic student experience that nurtures body, mind, and spirit, so that our graduates are well-equipped with skills and knowledge; confidence; and conviction to change the world.


Our Strategic Plan is deeply informed by the Visitation Philosophy of Education as set forth in Educating the Mind & Heart in the Visitation Tradition, the national Visitation Salesian Network’s guiding document:

  • Visitation schools foster a personal friendship with God, which leads to a faith-filled vision of life.
  • Visitation schools integrate a strong academic course of studies with a Salesian spiritual dimension.
  • Visitation schools build faith communities which call their members to understand the value of diversity and to respect the dignity of each person.
  • Visitation schools promote the development of liberty of spirit which empowers students to make life-giving choices.
  • Visitation schools embrace and model Gospel values of peace and justice in order to be catalysts for positive change.
  • Visitation schools encourage an awareness of and care for the gifts of God’s creating hand.

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“Onward, Upward, Christward, Together”

The motto of Sr. Mary Berchmans Hannan, VHM, and the Class of 1948


It is our responsibility to safeguard the long-term health of the school through strategic planning. This plan reflects the expertise and of our skilled leaders and dedicated faculty. We are confident in the vision our team has articulated and the steps they have identified to get us there. We are excited to work together to carry Visitation forward.