The Rev. Dr. Les Mullings is our Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). It was his tireless vision to develop and create Challenge Preparatory Charter School to serve the needs of the Far Rockaway community. As Founder, he led the school through every stage of our development. As Lead Applicant he chaired the Planning Team and navigated the team through the extensive charter process.
CPCS was chartered by the NYS Board of Regents on February 9, 2010. It was fitting that Dr. Mullings was elected as the founding Chair of the CPCS Board of Trustees. He managed the Board and initial staff through the development and startup phase of our school making sure we were ready to open in late August 2010 with our first Kindergarten and First Grade classes.
As Board Chair, Dr. Mullings oversaw the operations of the school and led the process of the development of our school’s new facility located 710 Hartman Lane, Far Rockaway, NY. We moved into the building in early April 2012. On July 1, 2012, Dr. Mullings became CEO of our school.
As CEO/Founder, he oversees all aspects of CPCS on a day-to-day basis. Annually, he develops and recommends to the CPCS Board of Trustees the operations budget and staffing plan. Additionally, Dr. Mullings represents the interests of Challenge Prep with all of our school’s stakeholders.
Mullings holds a Ph.D. in Urban Studies from the University of London Chelsea, a Masters in Counseling/Psychology, and a certificate in Business. He is enrolled in graduate work for Advanced Education Leadership at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Education and Community Experience
Dr. Mullings has extensive experience in education, youth development and building collaborative community-wide initiatives through his work as Youth Development Specialist with the NYCDOE and as Executive Director of the Rockaway Center for Community Development.
Dr. Mullings is also the Senior Pastor of the Community Church of the Nazarene in Far Rockaway. He has led the church through the development of multiple programs that serve the Far Rockaway community. The church has gone through several expansions and remodeling projects during his term as pastor. The church is currently in the development stage of a forty-five million dollar affordable housing complex and new church facility.
Dr. Mullings has been very active serving New York City through multiple initiatives. He served former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative. He led the Far Rockaway community’s response to the American Airlines crash in November 2007 for NYC. He helped provide counseling for children and adults around the clock after 9/11. He has been active in responding to various crisis situations involving the public schools, race relations and police actions on-behalf of NYC.
Under current Mayor de Blasio’s administration, Dr. Mullings has hosted multiple city events including the Resource and Recovery Job Fair that brought a few thousand people together from across the borough.
Dr. Mullings has had a long-standing strong relationship with the Governor’s office. In 2013, Mullings spoke as part of the State of the State Address in Albany. He opened the 2014 NY State Democratic Convention. Most recently, he served as host for the 2016 Regional State of the State Address.
Super Storm Sandy
Dr. Mullings became the face and leader for the Far Rockaway community’s response to Super Storm Sandy. As a part of the relief process, Dr. Mullings founded and created “Project Sandy Far Rockaway.”
Challenge Prep’s facility became a location for relief efforts designed to serve the immediate community surrounding the school. Key community restoration information events took place and a major distribution in cooperation with our partner UNIQLO, the global clothing retailer, of 1,000 Ultra Light Down Jackets and 5,000 pieces of HEATTECH thermal underwear took place on January 20, 2013. Every Sunday cleaning and food supplies were distributed at the site.
On December 22nd, the Project hosted a warm clothing distribution and toy drive for thousands of residents of the area. The winter clothing distribution was conducted by UNIQLO and consisted of 1,000 Ultra Light Down Jackets and approximately 5,000 pieces of HEATTECH thermal underwear.
Project Sandy also distributed thousands of holiday toy packages to many affected families and children. Through the generosity of many supporting donors, each child was given a package, which included at least one toy and other items such as holiday DVD's, holiday CD's and children's books. Gift packages were given to at least 2,750 children.
Over 75,000 hot meals were served and seventy-plus semi-truck loads of food, blankets (25,000 plus), cleaning supplies, home goods, clothing, diapers, wipes, building materials, emergency products, flashlights, heaters, kitchen items, cookware, and multiple thousand of cases of water were distributed.
Honors and Recognition
Dr. Mullings has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards among them are:
- New York City Special Proclamation from The Council of the City of New York for Community Service – June 2015
- Resident Elder Youth Engagement Community Services Award for Super Storm Sandy – June 2014
- U.S. Congressman Gregory Meeks Community Service Award – October 2013
- New York Senatorial Service Award – October 2013
- The City of New York Certificate of Recognition for Super Storm Sandy Recovery Efforts – August 2013
- Community Service Award for Sandy Efforts from St. John’s Episcopal Hospital – 2013
- Good Samaritan Award from Metro New York District Church of the Nazarene – May 2012
- New York City Education Award – 2012
- New York City Commendation for Outstanding Community Service – October 2011
- U.S. Congress - Life Time Achievement Award presented by U.S. Congressman Greg Meeks – October 2011
- State Of New York Executive Chamber Award presented by Governor Elliot Spitzer – May 2010
- NAACP Community Service Award – June 2007