Principal Henry Zymeck made headlines when he challenged anxious parents at a contentious community meeting on the Upper West Side.
They were angry about a push to require area middle schools to reserve space for low-performing students, an effiort to desegregate the best-performing schools.
Zymeck told the parents, nearly all of whom were white, that their comments offended him.
Zymeck, the principal of the Computer School on West 77th Street for 12 years, now says he's heard from hundreds of people since that day. The vast majority were mostly positive, but he was attacked by some on social media.
"I certainly was surprised that it went viral like it did. That certainly wasn't something that I expected to happen," he said.
The Computer School is considered one of the district's three most desirable middle schools.
Under all of the desegration proposals being considered by the city Education Department, it would be required to admit more low-performing students.
"I'm willing to hold our school up as an example of a school that's willing to change and to accommodate a plan that is, in my opinion, for noble purpose," Zymeck said.
When Zymeck began teaching at the Computer School 26 years ago, he says administrators pushed to enroll a diverse group of students. He says he's tried to continue the effort, but adds it's more challenging now because of gentrification.
Indeed, half of his school's students are white, compared to just 30 percent across the district. And while half the district's students are from poor households, only 30 percent of the Computer School's are.
"That, to me, speaks of an urgency to act," he said.
He admits it's a challenge for teachers who have students at different academic levels, which is actually one of the arguments the parents are making. But he says good teachers can overcome that.
He adds that the diversity his school has been able to achieve is a key reason why it has thrived.