The Miami Valley
Every one of our alumni is a valued member of the extended MVS community. Their varied careers, activities, and contributions to the world since leaving here are part of the rich and diverse legacy of our school.
A community with passion
Learn more about our Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Each year since 2004, The Miami Valley School honors a former student as its Distinguished Alumnus or Alumna. Nominations are made by members of the MVS community and are based on accomplished and self-sustaining alumni who are compassionate global citizens and who show a commitment to The Miami Valley School.
Dr. Katharine R. Hobart ‘82
Dr. Katharine R. Hobart Ph.D., MSW, LCSW is a long-standing practitioner, researcher, and professor of community practice social work. Dr. Hobart currently teaches for Boston University School of Social Work in the Online Program and is involved in curriculum development and research with the Centre for Dignified Aging in Rwanda.
In 2011, Dr. Hobart was a Fulbright Scholar at Bishop Barham University College in Uganda helping to launch the first Masters of Social Work program in East Africa and conducting action-based research with rural elders. Upon her return to the United States in 2013, she was intrigued by the potential of online education as an essential platform for interdisciplinary and cross-continental collaboration, and has been committed to exploring its development. This work has allowed her to continue to teach and remain in contact with many of her former students all over the world. Prior to Uganda, Katharine taught at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work for many years while also practicing social work in a variety of diverse capacities, including running a federally-funded Administration on Aging intervention grant empowering frail elders in Colorado, living in Guatemala while working with a women’s microcredit organization, and practicing clinical social work in urban hospitals.
Throughout her 35+ year social work career, Katharine has committed to putting communities at the heart of her work, acting as a collaborative partner. She considers herself a practitioner and a teacher which has proven to work well in an applied discipline like social work. Katharine has consulted and lectured on program development, participatory monitoring/evaluation, and global aging issues in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Guatemala, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The ability to collaborate and work with colleagues from such diverse places has been one of the highlights of her career.
With much enthusiasm, Katharine attended The Miami Valley School from first to ninth grade with her five siblings. She went on to graduate from the Hotchkiss School and completed degrees from the University of Vermont, and Boston University School of Social Work. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, where she taught from 1997–2010.
Katharine lives on a small farm outside of Boulder, Colorado, with her
husband Jonathan, two horses, multiple chickens, barn cats, and a rowdy dog. They have two wonderful adult children— Max, an architect in Seattle, and Elsie, a public health practitioner in New Haven, Connecticut and soon-to-be Ph.D. student.
Bruce Heyman ’75
Former Ambassador to Canada
Ambassador Bruce Heyman served as the United States Ambassador to Canada under President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2017. Currently, he is a strategic advisor to Canada 2020, a Canadian progressive think-tank based in Ottawa. He is on the advisory board for Uptake in Chicago, and serves as an honorary patron to the Council of the Great Lakes Region.
Ambassador Heyman is a 33 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where he served as partner and managing director in the Chicago office. He previously served as a board member for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation. He also served as an advisor to the Fix the Debt CEO Council of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He has been a member of The Economic Club of Chicago, The Executives’ Club of Chicago, and the Facing History and Ourselves Chicago Advisory Board.
A magna cum laude graduate with both a BA and an MBA from Vanderbilt University, Ambassador Heyman continues to maintain close ties to his alma mater. He is past president of the Alumni Board and a former member of the Board of Visitors at the university’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
He and his wife Vicki live in Chicago, where they celebrate their family and friendships. They have three children and three beautiful grandchildren.
Ken Williford ’94
Ken is the Deputy Project Scientist for the NASA Mars 2020 rover mission, as well as the director of NASA’s Astrobiogeochemistry Laboratory (abcLab) in Pasadena, CA. The abcLab focuses on the tracing of biologically important elements that show traces of life within the Earth materials within the context of astrobiology (the search for life on other planets). Ken has an extensive history of outreach and service throughout his career.
From 2000-2001, he taught Earth science, life science, and mathematics at Good Hope School in St. Croix. At the University of Washington, Ken’s alma mater, he has served on both the technology and curriculum committees. Ken has done a vast amount of work to help children better understand the world in which they live – he’s run a 48 hour camp for students in Seattle to discover biodiversity, conducted an outreach trip to the Pilbara to present an overview of astrobiology to high school students, and has run a 6 week NASA/NEA program for middle school students.
Harold Mills ’89
CEO of ZeroChaos
Harold has spent his career successfully developing and leading technology and human resource businesses. A graduate of Purdue and Harvard Business School, Harold has held various executive positions with leading human resources technology companies. He has won numerous awards, with names including entrepreneur of the year, innovator of the year, and most influential business man, and his is a frequent speaker at international events.
As CEO of award-winning ZeroChaos, Harold oversees strategic direction and market development for one of the top global workforce management companies. He built ZeroChaos from inception into a multi-billion dollar company with operations in 45 countries. Recognized as one of the great innovators in the industry, Harold and ZeroChaos are transforming the way Fortune 1000 companies acquire and manage their outside contingent labor.
Dennis Cleary ’92
Information Technology for UNOPS
Dennis Cleary graduated from MVS in 1992 and spent a year as an exchange student before enrolling at Hobart College, where he studied political science and media studies. Dennis began his United Nations career in 1999 as a programmer for the United Nations Development Programme. In 2005, Dennis joined UNOPS, an operational arm of the United Nations, implementing peace building, humanitarian, and development projects.
In 2008, Dennis obtained a master’s degree in IT from the University of Liverpool. He currently leads the ICT development team for UNOPS, building systems used in development team working across two time zones, with roughly half the team in Bangkok and the other half in Copenhagen. He lives in Copenhagen with his wife and two children.
Jenell Ross ’88
Jenell Ross earned a B.A. in sociology from Emory University and immediately returned to Dayton to work alongside her father at his automotive dealership. Ross now operates four franchises: Buick, GMC, Mercedes-Benz, and Fiat. The Ross family pioneered minority ownership of luxury car dealerships, becoming the first African-American owned Mercedes-Benz dealership in the country in 1979 and Jenell’s other dealerships are the only ones owned by an African-American woman in their brand.
Ross has received multiple individual awards and recognitions and has served on numerous local and regional boards. In 2013, she assumed the role of chairwoman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, representing Mercedes-Benz. Ross is also the face and force behind the Norma Ross Pink Ribbon Driven team that raises money for breast cancer research through the American Cancer Society.
Laura Chambers-Kersh ’94
Global Leader and Physician
Laura Chambers-Kersh has spent her life living the MVS mission of compassionate global citizenship.
Upon graduation from MVS, Chambers-Kersh lived in Costa Rica for one year. She then entered Boston University, graduating magna cum laude in 1999 with degrees in biology and Hispanic languages and literature. She completed medical school at The Ohio State University. During her studies, she worked at the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana and studied family medicine in Cuba.
During residency in Minnesota, she served as chief resident and was named Resident Teacher of the Year. Her first position as a physician was at the Northern Navajo Medical Center for Navajo Nation in New Mexico. Following an obstetrics and gynecology assignment at Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Chambers-Kersh traveled to Malawi, one of the poorest nations in the world.
In Malawi she performed clinical work in the maternity ward of Kamuzu Central Hospital and was Program Management Advisor in the Health Office of USAID/Malawi where she helped to administer a $100 million portfolio of health programs. Her time in Malawi showed her, “…the realities of HIV/AIDS in Africa and generosity in the face of incredible scarcity.”
Todd Lang ’84
Executive Director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission
Upon Graduation from The Miami Valley School, Todd Lang entered Oberlin College where he earned a B.A, in history and government before receiving his juris doctorate his law degree from Cornell University Law School in 1993. His entire professional career has been spent living out MVS’s mission to create compassionate global citizens. Todd has worked in advocacy for those with little access to the legal system, first as a Legal Aid attorney in both Ohio and Arizona, as a commissioner for the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, and as chief counsel for the Consumer Litigation Unit at the office of the Arizona Attorney General.
He currently serves as Executive Director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission Act where he leads a team charged with developing a national model for campaign finance reform. According to a fellow attorney in Phoenix, “His whole career has been all about using the law to give the little guy an even shake with the big shots.”
Roger Meike ’81
Director of Operations, Sun Microsystems/Oracle
Roger Meike fell in love early on with the “whizzy things” computers do. At The Miami Valley School, he took classes at a local university and created an independent immersion to teach the advanced computer class under the supervision of math teacher Mario Ferraro.
From MVS, Meike studied Cognitive Science, a combination of Computer Science, Psychology, and Philosophy at the University of Rochester.
Meike began his career with Martin Marietta Denver Aerospace where he applied artificial intelligence techniques to network management for the International Space Station. Since then, he has been a founder or early employee in several startups, including WaveFrame, Studio Magic, Avio Digital, and Pixlabs, and has been a significant contributor in several research environments (University of Rochester Computer Science Department, Martin Marietta Denver AerospaceAI group, Interval Research).
In 2006 Meiker received the Computerworld Horizon Award, transforming the tech-world by leading the “Sun Small Programmable Object Technology” (Sun SPOT) project. Meike and his project exemplify global compassion citizenship, as applications for the Sun SPOT range from monitoring water quality in Malawi, Africa, where cholera outbreaks have been a problem, to collecting data about the Amazon rainforest with sensors at both ground level and high up in the canopy.
Talvin Wilks ’80
Talvin Wilks began attending The Miami Valley School in seventh grade. He was an exceptional student academically, while managing to balance leadership roles in student government, yearbook, literary magazine and athletics. His true passion, however seemed to shine in performance. During his senior year, he played the lead roles in school performances and musicals and also led the speech and debate team to a second place standing in the state.
Wilks attended Princeton University where he graduated with a degree in English. Initially studying to become a psychiatrist, he later decided to become a writer for the theater. His first play, Incubus:An American Dream Play, addressed issues of racism and sexism in America’s past, present and future, ones of which he would continue to address during his career.
Wilks has written several plays including Tod, the boy, Tod, the Trial of Uncle S&M, Bread of Heaven, and An American Triptych. His directorial projects include the world premiere productions of Eyewitness Blues, among many others. In 2006, he received a Bessie Award for Dramaturgy for his work Landing/Place. He also received multiple AUDELCO nominations for his work as a director.
Wilks has worked for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, serving as Interim Director for the school’s New WORLD Theater and as an associate professor in the Department of Theater. He has also been a guest director and lecturer at a number of colleges and universities, including SUNY/Stony Brook, Antioch College, Princeton University, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, Howard University, and Florida A&M.
Raymond J. McGuire ’75
Co-Head of Global Investment Banking & Citi Sr. Leadership Committee member
Raymond McGuire attended The Miami Valley School beginning in sixth grade. He was a student leader, exceptionally strong in the classroom, and a talented athlete. McGuire continued his college preparatory education at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. He earned his AB cum laude, from Harvard College in 1979. McGuire continued his graduate education at Harvard where he earned an MBA from harvard Business School and JD from Harvard law School. He also attended the University of Nice, France on a Rotary Fellowship.
McGuire is Citi’s Co-Head of Global Investment Banking, based in New York. He has responsibility for managing the coverage of global industries and clients and executing strategic transactions. McGuire is a member of Citi’s Institutional Clients Group Management Committee and the Institutional Clients Group Business Practices Committee. He is also member of Citi’s Senior Leadership Committee.
McGuire serves on several boards including: De La Salle Academy, the International Center of Photography, Lincoln Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, The New York Public Library, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Alex Hillman Family Foundation, and Whitney Museum of American Art. He is also a Director of the Wyeth Corporation. In the past, he has served on the boards of the Joseph & Claire Flom Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Hotchkiss School, and the San Remo Tenants’ Corporation. He has also served on various Visiting Committees at Harvard University, as well as a member of the Overseers/Directors Nominating Committee.
McGuire has received recognition for his accomplishments and service by the New York Urban League, Morehouse College as one of the inaugural members of the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Board of Renaissance Leaders, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Art for Life Foundation. Pratt Institute honored him as its inaugural distinguished Patron of the Arts.
Richard Taylor ’82
Senior Vice President of Motion Picture Association of America
Richard Taylor entered The Miami Valley School as a seventh grade student and graduated in 1982. Taylor was involved in many campus organizations, enjoyed participating on sports teams including soccer and basketball, and excelled in the classroom. His education at MVS prepared him for his collegiate studies at Brown University (B.A. in History), and later studied public policy at American University in Washington, D.C. Taylor pursued a career as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, served as a senior associate with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and joined The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1995.
Taylor is currently the senior vice president of the MPAA where he leads the external affairs and education division. The MPAA serves as the global voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video, and television industries. He is an active volunteer for several Washington, D.C. community organizations including Freeminds Book Club & Writing Workshop, Urban Film Premiere, Education Theater Company, Writers Guild of America and Trinity Presbyterian Church.
Ming Tsai ’82
Chef & Television Personality
Ming Tsai was an outstanding student at The Miami Valley School and spent hours cooking alongside his mother and father at their family-owned restaurant, Mandarin Kitchen, before entering Phillips Academy Andover. From there, Tsai earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Yale University and spent his junior summer at Le Cordon Blue cooking school in Paris. Upon graduation, Tsai trained in Paris and Osaka before earning a master’s degree in hotel administration and marketing at Cornell University. Tsai continued to learn varied styles of cuisine through work at restaurants in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Santa Fe.
In 1998, Tsai opened Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts. In its first year, Blue Ginger received three stars from the Boston Globe, was named Best New Restaurant by Boston Magazine, was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best New Restaurant 1998, and Tsai was honored as Chef of the Year 1998 by Esquire Magazine. The James Beard Foundation selected Tsai as 2002 Best Chef Northeast, and since 2002, the Zagat Restaurant Guide has rated Blue Ginger in the top five of Most Popular Boston Restaurants.
Tsai is a national spokesperson for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). He is the host and executive producer of the public television cooking show Simply Ming, where he has garnered two Emmy nominations and received a CINE Golden Eagle Award.
In addition to his work on television, Tsai is the author of five cookbooks: Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, Ming’s Master Recipes, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals, and Simply Ming in Your Kitchen.
Tsai is a member of Common Threads, the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Round Table, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Cam Neely Foundation, Family Reach Foundation and Squashbusters.
Marketa Wills ’91
Marketa Wills began attending The Miami Valley School in third grade. For Wills, the healthcare business “seed” was planted early. She can trace her passion for healthcare administration to her days at MVS, including an Immersion experience in which she shadowed the CEO of a local managed healthcare company.
Following undergraduate studies at Brown University and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, Wills completed her residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. While she loved direct patient care, her greater interest was in improving healthcare institutions as a whole. This led her back to Philadelphia to the Wharton School where she earned an MBA in finance and healthcare administration.
After Wharton, Wills was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, serving both payor and provider healthcare clinics, and then the director of physician affairs at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. In 2011, she became an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and was named the first medical director of the Women’s Behavioral Unit at St. Joseph Medical Center, which offers specialized care for women with emotional challenges.
In 2012, Wills was named associate medical director of OptumHealth, the behavioral health subsidiary of United Healthcare, a Fortune 25 health insurance company covering more than 75 million lives worldwide.
Allison Janney ’77
Oscar and Emmy-Award Winning Actress
Allison Janney was a celebrated participant in the arts and theater at MVS before she departed for The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. Upon graduation, Janney returned to Ohio where she enrolled at Kenyon College. As a freshman, she auditioned for and earned a part in a play directed by Paul Newman, a Kenyon alum. Soon after, Newmand and his wife Joanne Woodward, suggested she study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. There she made her Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s Present Laughter for which she earned the Outer Critics Circle Award and Clarence Derwent Award. She also appeared in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, receiving her first Tony award nomination and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award. In 2009, Janney starred in her first Broadway musical 9 to 5, for which she earned another Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award.
Janney has been very busy with film work, amassing credits that include American Beauty (SAG Award win for Outstanding Ensemble Cast), The Hours (SAG Award win for Outstanding Ensemble Cast), Life During Wartime (Independent Spirit Award nomination), Our Very Own (Independent Spirit Award nomination), Juno, Nurse Betty, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 10 Things I Hate About You, Primary Colors, The Ice Storm, Big Night, and the highly acclaimed film The Help. For their performances, the cast of The Help won ensemble awards from the Screen Actors Guild, national Board of Review, and the Broadcast Film Critics.
Additionally, Janney is remembered for her portrayal of White House Press Secretary CJ Cregg on the acclaimed NBC series The West Wing. She won four Emmy awards and four AG awards in her role alongside fellow Dayton native Martin Sheen.
Michael Friedman Rice, Ph.D. ’80
Dr. Michael F. Rice has been the superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) since 2007. During this time, with the Kalamazoo Promise as a springboard, the district has started full-day pre-kindergarten and quintupled the number of full-day kindergarten students; improved student achievement in reading, writing, and math; doubled the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses and almost tripled the number of AP courses that students take; and increased high school graduation rates, as well as college-going and college graduation rates.
Prior to serving as KPS superintendent, Dr. Rice served for five years as superintendent of the Clifton Public Schools in Clifton, New Jersey. Among his honors are the presidency of Michigan’s urban schools association, the Middle Cities Education Association, in 2013-14, and the Michigan Superintendent of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) in 2016.
Dr. Rice began his career as a high school French teacher and award-winning speech and debate program founder and coach in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and a master’s degree and doctorate in public administration with honors from New York University.
Dr. Rice has appreciated the opportunity to serve on a number of boards, commissions, and committees including, among others, the Middle Cities Executive Committee, the MASA State School Reform Commission (SSRC), the Steering and Technical Committee of the state School Finance Research Collaborative, and the board and executive committee of Communities in Schools‚ÄîKalamazoo. His most rewarding work, however, comes in mentoring and teaching of, and informal discussions with, KPS children.
Claudia Levin ’80
Documentary Film Producer
After nine years as an MVS student, Claudia Levin graduated and entered the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Folklore and Folklife Studies. Not sure where this unusual major would lead her, Claudia serendipitously decided during her junior year to pursue a career in educational television, work that she hoped would combine her interests in photography (she served as editor of Successions, the MVS yearbook), filmmaking and storytelling with her abiding belief that education is at the heart of a democratic society.
Following graduation, Claudia began working at the PBS station in Springfield, Massachusetts. There she produced the national PBS series Soapbox and went on to produce two award-winning independent films for PBS – Only a Teacher, which looks the critical role teachers have played in American society, and Rebuilding the Temple: Cambodians in America, a Florentine Films production. She has received numerous national and international awards including a CINE Golden eagle; a Silver Medal, Chicago International Film Festival; and a Gold Medal, National Educational Film and Video Festival.
In 2001, Levin joined Monadnock Media, a production company that specializes in multimedia exhibits for museums across the country. Her video-based projects cover regional history (Tampa Bay History Museum, Sioux City Public Museum), science and the environment (Boston Museum of Science, National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium), and American history (FDR Presidential Library and Museum, Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Mississippi Civil Rights Museum), among many other subjects.
Claudia believes that her life’s work embodies her vision for a better informed, well-educated and culturally literate society. She is an active volunteer for her local emergency food pantry and for national and state elections. Her husband, Daniel Gardner, is a professor of East Asian Studies at Smith College and they have one son, Jeremy.
Jim Thomsen ’74
Jim Thomsen was a member of the first graduating class of The Miami Valley School in 1974, having attended 11th and 12th grades after his family relocated to Dayton from New York. He earned an A.B. in biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and an M.D. at Wright State University School of Medicine, following medical school, he completed residencies in surgery and otolaryngology at Albany Medical College and Medical Center, and a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
After his fellowship, Dr. Thomsen spent two years with the faculty of George Washington University’s Pediatric Otolaryngology Division at Children’s National Medical Center. While there, he dealt with a full range of issues including the etiology of hearing loss, treatment of otitis media, complex head and neck disorders and airway and sinus management.
Dr. Thomsen joined Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat in 1991, where he works with a wide range of pediatric otolaryngology problems. His practice is based at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where he serves as the Medical Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology. He has lectured both locally and nationally on a variety of pediatric ear, nose, and throat topics and has published in peer review journals. His pediatric clinical interests include management strategies for sinusitis, bleeding disorders, neck masses, otitis media, sleep apnea, airway management, and hearing loss.
Dr. Thomsen is a fellow with the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a specialty fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is an active member of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology and has held numerous leadership positions.
We look to our generous families and alumni to help grow our campus and improve our technology. These gifts fund the hiring of talented and experienced teachers while enhancing our Immersion, science and other programs.
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