The Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights has selected a new head of school to assume leadership at the start of the 2016-17 school year.

Rene Gavic, currently the director of the middle and high school, will take over for Dawn Nichols, who is retiring at the end of the school year. Nichols led the school for 16 years.

Gavic was picked to lead the K-12 Catholic girls' school after a six month national search. She has worked for the school in various roles for nearly 30 years, starting as a track and field coach in 1987. She was later hired as a math teacher and has served as dean of students. Last year, she became the director of the the upper school.

"I am deeply honored and extremely thrilled to have been selected to lead Visitation," Gavic said in a statement.