About Us » Principal of Secondary School Message

Principal of Secondary School Message

Dear Meridian Lions,

I was fortunate in 2013 to be given the exciting opportunity to join you as principal of the secondary school. Rick Fernández knew that I was interested in returning to the Austin area some time in the future, but when he first contacted me, I was reticent. I was happy at North Hills Preparatory, and over the previous fourteen years my family and I had put down roots in both the school community and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. But I decided to investigate the opportunity, and I am absolutely thrilled that I did. The more I found out about Meridian School, the more excited I became.

Meridian combines a variety of factors that are rare enough individually but are truly unique in combination: It has dedicated students, parents, and faculty. Its founders and administration are committed to educational excellence and the International Baccalaureate programs, a commitment which led Meridian to become one the few schools in the nation to combine the IB Primary Years, Middle Years, and Diploma Programs under one roof.  This commitment was realized with the authorization of PYP in 2013, DP in 2015, and MYP in 2017. Additionally, Meridian has recruited key leaders and teachers with levels of educational and IB experience that are truly uncommon in a new charter school. These factors, combined with the freedom to innovate intrinsic to charter schools, provide us with an opportunity to build something truly special at Meridian School.

Professional Experience:

Born and raised in the Austin area, Charles Ryder attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Bachelor of Arts in both History and English, and Texas Teaching Certification in Secondary English and Social Studies. Mr. Ryder began his teaching career at Westview Middle School in Pflugerville ISD, teaching Texas History, US History, and designing an African History course, as well as serving as UIL Academic Campus Coordinator and Social Studies Department Chair.

After four years at Westview, Charles Ryder moved to Dallas, taking a teaching position at the North Hills School (now Uplift North Hills Preparatory), a two-year old charter school with big aspirations for academic excellence. Over the past fourteen years at North Hills, Mr. Ryder has taught a variety of subjects, including middle school Texas History and Language Arts, and high school World Geography, Economics, AP United States History, AP European History, IB MYP World History, and IB DP History Higher Level. In addition he has served as the Chess Club and Model United Nations faculty advisor, and Social Studies Department Chair. In 2007 Charles Ryder became the coordinator of AP and IB Diploma Programs, and in 2012 he became the Dean of Instruction for the high school. Both as a teacher and through his various leadership roles, Mr. Ryder worked with the North Hills team to achieve authorization as an IB Continuum school (Diploma Program in 2003, Primary Years in 2007, and Middle Years in 2010) and to develop a school with a unique culture of diversity and excellence. In 2006 Newsweek magazine ranked North Hills #12 on its America’s Best High Schools list, and North Hills is one of a handful of schools in the nation that has maintained a top-twenty ranking on that list in succeeding years.

In addition to his experience as a teacher of MYP Humanities and IB DP History, and as an IB DP Coordinator, Charles Ryder has served the IB Organization as an IB Assistant Examiner for both the History Higher Level Paper 3 and for the History Extended Essay since 2008. He has also been trained to serve as an IB workshop leader, site visitor, and consultant.


Joining Meridian School in 2013 as Principal of the Secondary School, Charles Ryder was drawn to Meridianl by its unique combination of dedicated students and parents, knowledgeable faculty and leadership committed to IB and educational excellence, and a charter school’s freedom to innovate.  With Meridian now home to the entire Ryder family (wife Sabrina, who teaches French, daughter Fiona, class of 2024, and son Austin, class of 2027), they enjoy being a part of building Meridian School’s traditions and unique character while developing leaders for the next generation.