FEATURE: Farewell Lloyd

Fine Arts teacher Bryan Lloyd, a student-favorite, will leave the district next year


Maddie McIntire

Listening to his students, ceramics teacher Byran Lloyd helps them pick a color for their project. “Something that’s been very rewarding is hiring about students going into art education or knowing that students have a great sense of satisfaction from making with with clay,” Lloyd said.

Nick Sprecker

In schools throughout the country, teachers hold a significant, sometimes lifelong impact on their students. Whether that impact is positive or negative, teachers can help mold a student’s attitude, self-esteem and behavior. 

Visual arts teacher Bryan Lloyd will not be returning to the district next year. For students, coming across a teacher like Lloyd who is more than just an instructor can be more important than some may realize.

When teachers show genuine interest their influence often transcends academics and affects students’ lives well into adulthood. 

Lloyd understands that importance. His open, down-to-earth personality puts a smile on not only those who take his ceramics classes but anyone he greets in the hallway. Through his involvement in the art community in Lawrence and extracurricular activities, he has been an important part of kids’ lives as they progress through high school. 

Lloyd said he has enjoyed his time working in ceramics and sculpture and has appreciated the people he has gotten to know. 

“I’ve had the best time teaching at Free State. I’ve loved my time here and it’s really felt like home,” Lloyd said. “It’s a job that I want to go to every morning, and I look forward to working with the people here.” 

Additionally, Lloyd mentioned his love for people, and how being a friend can mean more than one may realize.

“People of any age have things that they are going through,” Lloyd said. “I can be an open person, have open ears and an open heart. I try to be a helpful person and be a friend to people. Whether you’re eight or 80, I’ll always be your friend and root for you.” 

Lloyd said he will be teaching at Mill Valley High School beginning next fall, as it works out better for him since he lives close by in Kansas City. He spoke about his plans moving forward and noted what excites him about his next endeavor. 

“What excites me about [Mill Valley] is to start over and build a new program there that I can be as proud of as I am the program at Free State.” 

Lloyd has impacted many students in a variety of ways, and students have their own stories, memories and experiences with him in the classroom. Junior Fiona VanDyke and sophomore Isabel Miller, two of his seventh-hour Ceramics II students, spoke about Lloyd and what he has meant to them. 

“He’s like a father figure,” VanDyke said. “He really does care about every student and he’s always there to help no matter what it is. It doesn’t even matter if it’s ceramics — if it’s something going on at home, or you broke up with your boyfriend and you’re sad about it,  he’ll talk to you about it.”  

Furthermore, Miller noted that Lloyd’s open environment is a great place for students, and is an area where you can always be yourself. 

“He’s almost like a counselor in a way,” Miller said. “Even if you don’t directly go to him with an issue, he is very open to talking about it. It’s really comfortable — it’s a space where people can just breathe, especially at the end of class. It’s a very stress-free environment.” 

Both Miller and VanDyke agreed that Lloyd’s glowing personality and friendly environment are what set his personality and classroom apart. 

“Now that I’ve had his class, I’m excited to go to school knowing that I have ceramics later in the day,” VanDyke said. “He genuinely cares about every student he has, even if you aren’t his student. He’ll help you with anything you need.” 

Miller also talked about Lloyd’s significance within the art community in Lawrence, and how his absence has already impacted the school. 

“He definitely represents the fine arts department in Lawrence for sure,” Miller said. “Everyone’s sad that he is leaving. I think enrollment rates have dropped since his departure. Lots of people do ceramics for him. The class isn’t ceramics, it’s Mr. Lloyd.”

Although Lloyd is departing from Free State, he urges and encourages kids to keep in contact with him frequently.

“Stay in touch, seek me out, shoot me an email,” Lloyd said. “I’d love to hear about how college went. I would love to hear about you having a kid or hear about you moving to Africa. Reach out because I’d love to hear about student success and even the troubles that you might be going through. I’ll be happy to listen and try to be there for you in the future.”