Reverend Alfred Cockfield, the people’s pastor
Over the past decade in the vast field of education in New York, few have been more remarkable and impactful than the Reverend Alfred Cockfield. With a presence that begins in Brooklyn but now spans the entire downstate region, Cockfield is seen by many of the state’s most influential players as a trusted advisor and tireless advocate. underserved people.
A second-generation educational leader, Cockfield also served alongside his parents, Dr. Alfred S. and Linette Cockfield, at Batallion Christian Academy, which he would later take over himself. Cockfield then founded the Lamad Academy Charter School in Brooklyn. Most recently, he co-founded BLACC: the Black, Latinx, Asian Charter Collaborative, which advocates for fair and equitable education for minority communities in New York.
What began two years ago as a small movement, BLACC has grown into a large and diverse organization representing thirteen member charter schools. Cockfield helped set the course that BLACC is on today, to transform education by emboldening the environments in which students learn. With a portfolio of members as diverse as their student populations, BLACC now represents schools in the arts, humanities, athletics, boys’ and girls’ schools, and various other concentration-oriented educational institutions.
“My parents wanted to give students an education that was as superior as a private education, while making it very affordable,” Cockfield said. “They started the school over 35 years ago and it is still going strong, educating around 150 students a year.”
Also a religious leader in our western boroughs, Cockfield holds the title of Chief Operating Officer of God’s Battalion of Prayer Ministries. Based in Brooklyn, Cockfield leads the development of the church, through recruitment and retention, alliance partnerships, as well as staff, educational and economic development.
Cockfield is a graduate of New York’s prestigious Nyack College – a Christian college and seminary – where he earned his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Business Administration. Cockfield was able to apply many of the concepts and expertise he developed throughout his college career to help him in the various development roles in which he served in the church.
“We have churches all over the world, where we own the property and the land. It is very important to understand the international market as a global ministry. That’s why I decided to do my MBA in business marketing, to understand the different continents. One of our goals is not just to go to these communities to preach, but also to help uplift the communities where we are located,” Cockfield said.
“We help with education, finances and workforce training to make these church communities self-reliant,” Cockfield continues.
The church is now in Nigeria, South Africa, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, as well as the United States, with national sites in Delaware, Illinois and New York.
Originally from Arverne, NY, Cockfield now resides on the eastern part of the Rockaway Peninsula. Cockfield says many of his peers consider him a pastor from Brooklyn-Queens.
Cockfield has held leadership positions, serving as a trusted advisor on educational and religious matters to various elected officials. He is also a proud member of the 67th Precinct’s Clergy Council, which he affectionately calls the “God Squad”, of which he is a founding member.
“The God Squad is coming out of the compound where our church headquarters are in the 67th arrondissement,” he said. “I think it’s a huge responsibility that I don’t take for granted. I really cherish it.
“I try to do my best to advise and influence for the good of our people,” he continues.
Although Cockfield has already done remarkable work, he remains steadfastly committed to transforming the lives of children and young people through education, more specifically by fostering academic opportunities for the disadvantaged. He works extensively in the East Flatbush community, with the goal of creating engaging and interactive educational programs that allow young people to excel using innovative classroom techniques.
“At Lamad Academy, we have what we call ‘Lamad Life’, which is a social and emotional program,” he said. “Students check in and out twice a day to share what they are facing at home, and depending on how they respond, a guidance counselor from our team or our special education team can come in and check on the scholar, talk with them, and alert the teachers to what that kid did that day.
“You can have a nice house, lots of money, and a student can still have things to deal with, everyone has a bit of trauma which could lead to an ineffective day at school. It’s a holistic approach to making sure our kids don’t have an ineffective day,” Cockfield continues.
Al Cockfield currently serves as president of BLACC, helping to advise the organization and further its mission of collective advocacy for the education of New York’s diverse communities. Alongside CEO Miriam Raccah, Cockfield and the organization have seen a growing list of member schools, which the Reverend says will only continue to expand in the future.
“We now have less than 10% of charter schools in the New York area,” he said. “I want to not only increase membership, but also increase the number of schools that are licensed, founded and run by people of color.
“The industry is dominated by 90% white vs. black, Latinx and Asian founders. We want to make sure the schools really represent the student body,” Cockfield continues.
The organization’s mission to ensure families of color have access to rigorous, high-quality public education — with educators and administrators who reflect the diversity of the populations they educate — has never been greater. important, Cockfield says, in a world where 91% of public charter school students are black or Latino. Only 8% of charters, however, are run by people of the same ethnic or racial background.
“Studies have shown that for students who have teachers who look like them, the likelihood of them doing well in education is higher than those who don’t have teachers of color in third grade,” Cockfield says. .
Although Cockfield’s educational efforts were rooted in the boroughs, he became involved in matters that impact the east. In 2021, Cockfield was appointed by the Governor of New York State to serve as a member of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Directors. In this capacity, he helps lead the organization that keeps the lights on and the power going from the east end across this 118-mile island and the Rockaways. He is the sole director on the board representing the Rockaways.
He is also the CEO and founder of a Political Action Committee (PAC) called Striving for a Better New York, which supports moderate Democratic and Republican candidates for election, with the intention of electing accountable leaders across the country. State.
“When you put people in power, they are accountable for that power,” says Reverend Cockfield.
“We want to make sure our elected officials make decisions that are truly for the upliftment of the entire state. It’s not just economics, it’s public safety, education options, business and market promotion, and affordable housing. Let our elected officials push things that make the whole of New York State and New York City better,” Reverend Cockfield continued.
And, throughout these functions – and beyond, in his personal life – Cockfield developed an affinity for the East End. He enjoys short visits to the South Fork of Long Island for many of the same reasons we all do in the warmer months.
“I’m a Rockaway boy, so I love the beach. I love everything about the East End: the restaurants, the people, Montauk, the water, the beach, the fishing, and hanging out with friends and family Just spent a week at Martha’s Vineyard with my family, kids and grandson, love being near the water.
“Whether it’s East Quogue, East Hampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor, I love it all,” Cockfield concludes.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate editor of Dan’s papers.