Student Standouts & Staff Spotlight for January 14

Student Standouts: Zahir ’22, Upper School Robotics

Staff Spotlight: Rohr

Congratulations to this week’s standouts below. Way to go #RamNation! And as always, if you have a story to share, please email

Senior Highlighted in Organization's Newsletter for Mini-Documentary

MICDS senior and KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) volunteer Ittmum Zahir ’22 was highlighted in a recent KEEN e-newsletter as their “Volunteer Spotlight.” Ittmum and his project partner Matthew Hood ’22 created a mini-documentary for their Global Action Project. “Ms. Mittler’s English 12 GAP class provided us the opportunity to create a mini-documentary pertaining to a specific global issue,” Ittmum explains. “My project partner and I decided to focus on how disability stigma that has developed throughout history has contributed to stereotyping special needs individuals. I was very inspired to make this video due to volunteering at KEEN since eighth grade. Not only has KEEN opened my mind to many perspectives, but it has also enabled me to create a special bond with an exceptionally talented community. Without Matthew and the considerate KEEN community, this documentary would have not been made possible.” Way to go, Ittmum!

Two Robotics Teams Compete in First Tech Challenge Meet

Two MICDS robotics teams, Ramifications and Rampunzel, competed in their first matches of the year in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) meet held on January 7 at MICDS. Although they have only played in one meet this season, the MICDS teams rank against teams that have played all three of their meets. Team Ramification is currently ranked 21st in the league.

Upper School Math Teacher and Robotics Coach Travis Menghini said, “I am thankful to have such a great group of students that were so happy to be out competing and learning. The learning moments that the team experienced are second to none. Making mistakes, talking and working with other teams, making observations, and challenging ourselves to overcome situations will help them become engineers, computer scientists, problem solvers, and overall, teach and encourage the skills required in the 21st century.”

Matlynne Hardy-Lyles ’23 reflected on the learning experience: “I was a little nervous during the meet because at the last minute I was assigned to be a driver. I had never driven the robot before and I didn’t know the controls, but eventually, I got the hang of it. We did have a few problems with coding, but with the help of the coach of another team, we were able to figure it out. I think as we work through those problems, we will see a lot of success this season.”

Check out what other team members shared below!

  • Tanay Goel ‘24: “This is my first year at MICDS. Joining the robotics team has been interesting and challenging and helped me view things from different perspectives and improved my way of finding solutions.” 
  • Hale Foster ‘25: “Our team faced some challenges, like when one wheel turned the wrong direction and our pulley line snapped, but we were quick to solve them. Though our team didn’t come out on top, we definitely succeeded because of how much we learned, freshman and seniors alike.”
  • Phoebe Burgis ‘23: “I was surprised at how optimistic and hard-working all of the members of my team were. We scored more points than we thought we would be able to, and it really motivated our team to improve and strategize for the next meet.”
  • Sophie Fendler ‘22: “This has been a really incredible year for our new team. We have spent our time recruiting and teaching new members the different roles (managing, building, coding, CADing) that will set them up for long-term success. For me, the biggest win was seeing everyone come back to the lab on Monday with ideas and inspirations they brought back from the meet.”

Congratulations, MICDS Robotics Teams, for success right out of the gate!

Check out the meet results and current rankings.

Staff Spotlight: Director of Finance Earns NBOA Professional Achievement Award

Congratulations to MICDS’ very own Director of Finance Leanne Rohr for winning the National Business Office Association (NBOA) Professional Achievement Award. In her nine years of experience at MICDS, Rohr has overseen accounting, accounts payable, student accounts, investment management, and foodservice. She has supported the reorganization of roles in the Business Office and has led productivity improvements and RFPs (Request for Proposals). These efforts were invaluable especially when much of the Business Office worked remotely as-needed during COVID. Her deep knowledge of the many restricted funds at MICDS means she can find ways to support initiatives that were not previously budgeted.

Chief Financial Officer Beth Miller said, “Leanne is a hard worker, supports daily activities with an eye on the long-term and how we can improve processes, and understands the complexities of fund accounting and restricted accounts better than anyone. To optimize the structure of the Business Office of the future, it meant shifting responsibilities and streamlining processes…in other words, a lot of change management. Leanne took on much of the oversight to make these changes successful. This was going on at the same time as the learning curve from implementing a new ERP system. Leanne was diligent in ensuring every report was 100% accurate. Then COVID appeared. The changes that were put in place were immediately reaping benefits. Leanne was as productive, if not more, running the department remotely. In addition, she contributed to several COVID-related initiatives. Her historical knowledge based on her years of experience at MICDS makes her invaluable in explaining why some practices exist. Her support spreads beyond normal business office activities to supporting other departments, leading the student investment committee, and coaching Girls on the Run. In addition to her many professional attributes, I can count on Leanne for a funny story and a good laugh during difficult times.”

Upon receiving the award, Rohr said, “I am extremely honored to be recognized by peers on a national level with NBOA’s Professional Achievement Award. I am most proud of the contributions that we accomplish together as a team here at MICDS. Thank you, Beth Miller, for the recommendation and for writing such warm compliments.”

The National Business Officers Association (NBOA) is the only national nonprofit membership association dedicated to developing, delivering, and promoting best business practices to advance independent schools. The Professional Achievement Award recognizes invaluable contributions made by independent school business, finance, and operations staff members. These members have made significant and lasting contributions to their schools’ operations or financial health. Recipients of this award exemplify high-quality performance and exceptional work ethic, and they demonstrate the highest standards of management, knowledge, and business acumen.

Congratulations, Ms. Rohr!