Interview with Reverend John Powis

Ah, how was Rhody McCoy selected? You talked before how this was the '60s, and that was part of the consciousness of the parent. How was Rhody McCoy selected, and why was he selected over other candidates?


The Ocean Hill-Brownsville demonstration school district began with an election, and a very representative election. Much more so than 22% of the parents in the community voted. After that, once that board was selected, the first job that they were supposed to do was to select what was called a unit administrator or superintendent for the eight schools. And the parents interviewed a number of people, both White and Black, and, uh, none of them seemed to be--they all seemed to be fairly good, including one who had been having a lot meetings in the neighborhood, a fellow named Jack Bloomfield, who was the principal of IS 271, and then McCoy came in, I remember it was on a Saturday morning, and he just caught everybody's imagination immediately. I mean, he came in, he was talking the language that the parents were talking, he was talking about the involvement that parents had to be involved in the education, that, that a whole new, whole new way of teaching had to, had to be done. And somehow or another it would have to involve parents in the community. And he talked about changes in the school, and, uh, I would say as soon as we heard of him, and as soon as we heard from him, for about 45 minutes, there was no more doubt this man was going to be selected.