In 2010 Kim Winston Bigler started what would eventually become James Samaritan out of the trunk of her car in California. Over the last 5 years (after moving back to Louisiana), she has built an organization which has an incredible impact on the Louisiana foster care community. She has grown James Samaritan by building relationships with the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), local churches and an army of community volunteers. Her contributions to the foster care system have received statewide recognition. She has been recognized for her impact on changing how we care for our most vulnerable. Kim has been recognized by many of the top organizations in Louisiana for her service to children and families. These organizations include LFAPA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation Angel Award, YMCA St. Tammany West Hometown Hero Award, Together We Can Conference, Linda Christmas Award, Louisiana Institute of Children and Families, Angel in Adoption Award, First Lady Edwards Louisiana Fosters, Governor Edwards, Louisiana Institute of Children in Families, and many more.
Julie Wondergem is the founding director of Royal Family KIDS Camp for Southeast Louisiana. She is a mother of 7 and has served as a foster parent since 2003. Julie has dedicated her life to serving others, especially those from hard places. Her experience and understanding of the challenges faced by children, families, and case workers in our local system, motivates her determination to make a difference. In addition to Royal Family Kids, she has helped start and manage other non-profit organizations. Julie received a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Western Govenors University in 2013. She has taught both Special and Regular education in St. Tammany Parish.
Rafael Flores was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and moved to the United States in 1998. After moving around the country, he settled in Covington Louisiana in 2012 with his wife, Penny, and two children. He graduated from Spring Hill College with a B.A. in Theology, has a Masters in Pastoral Leadership from Notre Dame Seminary, and is currently in training for a Master's in Bioethics from the Ohio State University. Rafael began his career in education and parish ministry, spending eight years as a theology teacher at St. Scholastica Academy, and lay minister for St. Peter Parish. He currently is the Director of Mission Integration for Our Lady of the Angels Hospital and the Northshore Region of FMOL Health System. In this role he aids the healthcare ministry live out its Catholic identity across its regional and system operations. Rafael also currently leads the youth ministry team at Our Lady of the Lake Parish. He has a passion for serving those in need, and is always happy to find a way for people to help in the good work of service. When not riding his bike with his wife and kids around Covington, Rafael enjoys cooking, running, and hunting down a good jazz vinyl record.
Staci Jo Schwittay-Lecompte
Director of Operations
Staci has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona. Over the years, she has had the opportunity to apply that degree for artistic purposes and professionally for marketing in various industries. She has held several different roles including customer service, marketing, finances, administration, operations, Human Resources and sales. Her greatest joy is helping others. She is also a real estate agent and is involved in other organizations since her passion is helping and serving others. She is an excellent listener and excels in customer service. Her life experiences has taught her to see the potential in people, to have compassion, and to help others reach their goals. It is a way to help people's dreams come true!
Helping others and giving God the glory for all that is accomplished is pure joy!
Sean Englert is the Dean of Student Life at Northlake Christian School in Covington, Louisiana, where he oversees student activities, develops student leadership training and programming, builds relational bridges between the student body and community organizations, and directs various aspects of spiritual life on campus. Prior to his administrator role, he spent over a dozen years as a classroom teacher and coach. In 2017 he took a brief leave of absence from the world of education and relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to work alongside the North American Mission Board as a recruiter and trainer of church-planting pastors in the area. He returned to education and his home state of Louisiana in 2020 in his current position at Northlake Christian School.
With degrees in sociology and teaching, as well as a doctorate in education, Sean adds both his educational expertise and professional experience to the diverse makeup of the board. He and his wife, Tiffany, also have two children of their own. Both Jade and Ezra became members of the Englert family by way of adoption in 2017 and 2022, respectively. As an adoptive parent, Sean is passionate about supporting and caring for families engaged with the foster system. Sean, Tiffany, Jade, and Ezra reside in St. Tammany Parish and desire to see their community become a place where every person, regardless of family dynamics, has the opportunity for individual success and wellbeing.
Caitlin was born and raised in Covington, LA. She graduated from St. Scholastica Academy in 2003 and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications at LSU in 2007. Shortly after college, Caitlin moved to the Dallas/Fort worth area where she discovered her love of Product Development in the Beauty Industry. After developing several products for the brand Bed Head, she was relocated to New York City to work in Brand Development for the mass haircare brand, Suave Professionals. In 2012, Caitlin returned with her husband to settle down in Covington. Taking all of her learnings from Texas and New York, she created her own beauty brand, Kismet, in 2013. Since launching her brand, Kismet has been featured in national magazines, subscription bags and even CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer. Kismet was also named LSU’s top 100 fastest growing businesses in 2019 and again in 2021. Caitlin is the beauty editor for Edge of the Lake Magazine, keeping the Northshore up to date with the latest hair, makeup and skincare trends. She also is on the St. Scholastica Academy Alumnae Board and she is the SSA Alumnae Coordinator. Caitlin loves to reconnect and bring fellow alumnae together to create an even stronger, female driven community. She also organizes the popular Dove Market, highlighting local businesses and community outreach. Caitlin is also part of the 2021 Leadership St. Tammany Class. Caitlin currently lives in Covington with her husband, Scott and their three children, Ruby, Henry and Eliza. Nothing makes her happier than driving around their kids to different activities, coaching Ruby's Pee Wee Pep Squad and being room mom.
Rebecca Birkett is the principal of Lyon Elementary school in Covington, Louisiana. She has worked in the field of education for over 15 years. Rebecca received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Mercy College in New York City. Rebecca is an Ohio native and is a proud (and loud!) Buckeye fan! She attended The Ohio State University in 2009 and 2014 where she completed coursework to obtain her principal and superintendent licensure. She married her best friend, Owen, in 2015 and quickly learned when you marry someone from south Louisiana, they bring you back to south Louisiana. Rebecca serves as the Executive Board Secretary for the Children's Advocacy Center - Hope House. She is extremely excited and humbled to join the board where her passion for children and young adults will be an asset to the mission and vision of James Samaritan. Rebecca lives in the city of Covington with her husband, their Yorkie-Poo Napoleon, and their niece who is a junior at Spelman.
Director of Media & Marketing
John is a father of 7 children and the husband to 1 amazingly, awesome wife. John is a firm believer that we are to love and support those who are facing difficult struggles in life (Psalm 82:3) His faith in Jesus propels him to serve the foster care community, as well as the special needs community. Since 2006, John has been a public school educator and coach, and in 2014, with the help of his wife Julie, he launched the first Royal Family KIDS Camp in the state of Louisiana. Since that time he has partnered with other passionate people to see 4 such camps erected across the state. As a member of the James Samaritan team, Mr. Wondergem looks forward to supporting the staff and board as a fundraiser and community connector. "The mission of serving the foster care community is one that all of us can have a critical role in doing."