Interview with Rhody McCoy

Let's maybe personalize it a little bit. For you as a Black male teaching in the school system, what was it like for you in '67?


I took a different route. Ah, I went into the, first I was not intending to be an educator. So I went into the 600 Schools, which was the schools for the emotionally and socially maladjusted. And, I became a substitute. Ah, I tried to pass the examination I think three times and I wasn't able to make it. The first time I missed it on the short answer. Second time I missed it on the interview. And I think the third time I missed it on the, on the physical. But it didn't discourage me because I was not interested in being a teacher. It was a job that I needed to support a family. But in that process I began to meet a, a, any number of Black males who were interested in, one getting into the system. So you had to be in the elementary school license or a Jr. High School license as a teacher for five years and then you would be eligible to take the Assistant to the Principal's exam. And then after five years you could take the Principal's exam. Or, if it wasn't five, it was three but it was a, a, graduated, ah, years of service before you could take the examination. So, ah, going the 600 School route, ah, they had no Black, ah, males, ah, at the time that I entered the system when the population was predominantly Black. So, it was easy to give me a substitute license. Then, little by little, ah, a couple of people began to encourage me and suggested that I study and take a cram course and they would help me. And so I passed the, ah, the examination, the first exam, ah, in Health Education. And, ah, became a teacher. And then having been in the system for two, I think three years and, and they shifted me from school to school where the need, because of the disruptive Black students were, ah, they began to know me. They recognized that I was a good teacher. I won a number of awards, etc. And I instantly began to move towards being an Assistant Principal. And I was given the Assistant Principalship. Didn't pass anything but was given Assistant Principalship. And then finally, I just took a school.