Rhody A. McCoy, a key aide to Acting D.C. School Superintendent James T. Guines, said yesterday he plans to resign July 1, alleging that he media and some school board members had used him as "a scapegoat" to discredit Guines' efforts to keep the superintendent's job on a permanent basis.
"I will not be used to discredit Dr. Guines, not be an obstacle to his appointment as superintendent," McCoy said at a press conference. McCoy, who had been given a $41,000-a-year job by Guines to increase community involvement in the schools, said he felt that some school board members considered him "an albatross." He did not specify which board members he was referring to, but Carol Schwartz (Ward 3) and Linda Cropp (Ward 4) have often criticized him.
"To those board members who convertly view me as a troublemaker, I remove that option," said McCoy, a stocky, soft-spoken man who raises horses and often comes to work wearing a Stetson hat.
McCoy said he decided to resign yesterday after a Washington Post editorial earlier this week recommended that the board select someone rather than Guines for superintendent and criticized Guines for appointing McCoy, "a man famed for bringing upset and controversy to school systems."
McCoy told school board staffers he decided to resign the day the editorial appeared. He called the editoral "Machiavellian" and accuded The Post of attempting to "manipulate" the school board.
McCoy also used his press conference to promote support for Guines' bid for the superintendacy. McCoy described Guines as "the ideal educational leader" for the D.C. schools. Since McCoy was appointed by Guines, his appointment would have ended on July 1 in any event, unless Guinies were picked as the permanent superintendent.
"It's kind of presumptuous of him to think he would be here after July 1," one school board official commented after the press conference.
"I don't think this helped (Guines) one bit," said board member Barbara Lett Simmons, who was instrumental in making Guines one of the six finalists for the superintendency.
Though his job called for working with "nonschool people" to involve them more in the school system, McCoy spent much of his time setting up a training program -- the Professional Development Institute [PDI] -- for teachers interested in becoming principals and earning masters' degrees for 10 hours of work on 20 consecutive Saturdays. McCoy, however, was unable to get a university to award the degrees.
McCoy had been out of work or on sick leave for much of April and May after injuring his back, but had been attending the Saturday PDI sessions during this time. Two of the teachers enrolled in PDI said McCoy had encouraged some of the teachers in that group to foster community support for naming Guines superintendent.
McCoy returned to work recently after his request for an extension of his sick leave was denied.
McCoy defended the PDI program as a "bold move" to correct a "condition of leadership bankruptcy" which exists in the schools.
He asserted that criticisms of PDI had been "promulgated to maintain white legitimization of black behavior. Some blacks give credibility to this degradation," he said.
McCoy came to the public forefront in the late 1960s when he was head of the Ocean-Hill Brownsville school district in New York and advocated the firing of 19 white teachers and supervisors whom he claimed were unsympathetic to the black community. The firings sparked a bitter 36-day strike which ended only after the teachers were reinstated.