Mayor's Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism and School Engagement
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Leadership

The Mayor's Interagency Task Force is part of the Mayor's Office and is overseen by John Feinblatt, the Mayor's Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning and Criminal Justice Coordinator. The Task Force is chaired by Leslie Cornfeld, a former federal prosecutor who previously served as the Director of the Mayor's Task Force on Child Safety and Welfare.

John Feinblatt
John Feinblatt was appointed Chief Advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for Policy and Strategic Planning in February 2010. He works in close consultation with the Mayor, Deputy Mayors, and Commissioners in the development and implementation of policies that cut across city agencies. In addition, he leads the Mayor's national coalitions on guns, immigration reform and infrastructure investment. Mr. Feinblatt has held the position of Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York since January 2002. He serves as the Mayor's chief advisor on criminal justice policy and liaison to the state court system, the city's five elected district attorneys and the state criminal justice system.

Prior to joining the Bloomberg administration, Mr. Feinblatt was the founding director of the Center for Court Innovation. The recipient of the 1998 Innovations in American Government award from the Ford Foundation and Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Center is the country's leading think tank devoted to problem solving justice and has created national models for drug courts, community courts, mental health courts, prisoner re-entry courts and domestic violence courts. 

Before the Center, Mr. Feinblatt was the founding director of the Midtown Community Court, which was created as part of the economic revitalization effort of Times Square. The Midtown Court is now the model for over 60 community courts in this country and abroad. On behalf of the Midtown Community Court, Mr. Feinblatt received the 1997 Smithsonian award for technology, the 1996 Certificate of Merit from New York City's Municipal Arts Society, first prize for the innovative use of technology at the 1995 Windows World Open, and the 1994 Justice Achievement Award from the National Association for Court Management.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Feinblatt was the deputy executive director of Victim Services (now Safe Horizon), the country's largest victim assistance organization. He was also a trial attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York City and a research associate at the Vera Institute of Justice.

Mr. Feinblatt has been appointed by the Chief Judge of New York State to serve on the Commission on the Future of Probation, the Commission on the Future of New York State Courts and the Commission on Alternatives to Incarceration. He has also served as the board chair of Bowery Residents Committee, one of New York City's largest independent agencies serving the homeless.

Mr. Feinblatt is the co-author of "Good Courts: The Case for Problem-Solving Justice" published in 2005 by The New Press. In addition, he has contributed articles and opinion pieces to Law and Policy, Court Manager, Judicature, Fordham Urban Law Review, The New York Times, New York Newsday, New York Post, Daily News and other publications. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. 

Leslie Cornfeld
Leslie A. Cornfeld was appointed Chair of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Interagency Task Force on Truancy, Chronic Absenteeism & School Engagement in June 2010. She previously served as Director of the Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety following the highly publicized child abuse death of Nixzmary Brown.

Ms. Cornfeld is a former federal prosecutor and previously served as the Deputy Chief of the New York City Commission to Investigate Alleged Police Corruption (the “Mollen Commission”), where she supervised investigations of alleged police corruption and brutality, and the anti-corruption systems of the NYPD.

Prior to that, Ms. Cornfeld was a litigation associate at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and previously served as a law clerk to federal judge Pierre N. Leval. She also served as Special Assistant to United States Senator Daniel P. Moynihan in Washington, DC.

Ms. Cornfeld has served on a number of non-profit and other boards, including trustee of the Children’s Defense Fund, Washington, DC; the Dalton School; the NYC Hospital For Special Surgery; and the Harvard Law School Association of NYC.

She has contributed articles and opinion pieces in a number of publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, New York Newsday, and New York Law Journal and has had several television appearances, including Dateline, ABC’s Turning Point, and other news programs. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

The Task Force Team
Additional staff members from the Office of the NYC Criminal Justice Coordinator that support the efforts of the Task Force include: Michele Sviridoff, Peter Goldwasser, Miriam Popper, Brian Levinson, and Allie Skayne. On all initiatives, the Task Force works in close partnership with the Department of Education and the outstanding team at the Office of Safety and Youth Development, which includes: Elayna Konstan, Anthony Orzo, Kim Suttell, Sarah Peterson, Michael Battista, Gina Romeo, Joshua Laub, Serge St. Leger, Vincent Dioguardi, Carmela Resuma, Nancy Alvarez, and Luke Pennig. 

The Task Force relies on the support and guidance of several education policy advisors, including our chief advisor, Dr. Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, a nationally-recognized expert on these issues and co-chair of the Everyone Graduates Center. Hedy Nai-Lin Chang, director of Attendance Works, is a leader in research concerning chronic absenteeism and has helped raise awareness nationally of the importance of the programming like that of the Task Force.

The Children's Aid Society serves as the Task Force's technical advisor on a number of initiatives.

Wakeup NYC
Wakeup NYC
The Challenge

Learn what the Task Force is doing to tackle this problem.