Steve Ryder retiring after 37 years


Sage Ye, Managing editor of showcase and podcast

After 37 years at LFA, Stephen Ryder officially announced his retirement from teaching. While Ryder currently teaches French classes, his impact on this school has reached far beyond just that of the classroom..

Stephen Ryder started his teaching career at LFA in 1985. There were many challenges that he had to face in his early years.“When I first came to LFA, it was a very different place, and it’s come so far.” Ryder said. “And if you were to tell me my first year that I would be here until 2022, I would tell you that you’re absolutely out of your mind, because that first year here was so tumultuous, and I did think a lot about going back to England; but LFA got me hooked, and I realized I had a long future here.”

During his time at the academy, Ryder has accomplished a lot, most notably – teaching French classes, coaching the JVsoccer team, being a dorm head of the Warner dorm, and starting and leading the school’s rock band, Co-ax. On top of this, he also began the tradition of the annual multicultural talent show, where students get a space to showcase their performances from their culture and cultivate diversity. In these 37 years, Ryder has made great impacts on students and teachers alike, leaving a prominent legacy in this school.

Ryder was able to express his passion for language at LFA by teaching several generations of students, helping them develop and advance their language expression skills. He furthermore helped cultivate a global mindset by taking students on a number of school trips worldwide. “I taught French, but I used to teach Russian as well, and Latin for one year, and it’s all been a blast. I love language, the connection between words and the origin of different words. It’s something that I’ve enjoyed, even when it’s a difficult class to teach.”

In 1986, a year after joining LFA, Ryder started the music entourage, Co-ax.
“Co-ax started as sort of an ego trip. It was a way of performing for mostly teachers, and then more and more kids became interested, and it became a kids club. Then, people started saying that their kids really thrived in Co-ax, and they learned so much about not just music but collaboration as well, and that’s when I started to realize that there was more to it than just rocking out in front of the school,” said Ryder. “The name, Co-ax, comes from Aristophanes’ the frogs, which is where the name Caxy comes from, also a guitar cable, called the coaxial cable” Ryder said. Co-ax would grow to become a huge part of LFA’s art culture, playing twice a semester, including once at all school meetings. It covers genres from rock and roll, blues, to pop songs. It has certainly become a central and beloved performance group at our school, headlining the welcome ceremony for Head of School José de Jesús, and performing at several annual MET gala events.

“He proved his dedication by holding practice for us every G day and Sunday, and helping us through all our mistakes. I’m sure everyone will miss his voice and guitar playing.” Said Ricky Ascroft, lead guitarist of Co-ax.

While co-ax’s future at LFA remains unclear, the passion of students and faculty at LFA makes it hopeful that the band will continue to rock on. “I would like to think that there will always be a rock band at LFA, and it continues to do performances, but I do realize somebody who takes over for me can take it in a different direction, and the same goes for every part of my career,” said Ryder.

The Spectator team, students, and faculty wish Mr. Ryder the best in retirement.

“I’ve been unbelievably lucky. Other than friends and family, there are four things that I like in life—language, music, travel, and soccer, and I’ve been able to do those four things and get paid for it at LFA, so it really doesn’t get better than that,” Ryder said.