Our Team

imgonline-com-ua-resize-yqO4TYYIGt9VMv

Kim Bigler

Founder

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.

imgonline-com-ua-resize-71FbvKFTDc

Staci 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!

 

caitlinheadshot

Caitlin Picou

Board Member

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

Cori Headshot 2021

Cori Higgins

Board President

Cori was born and raised in Texas. She attended Baylor University, earning a degree in Business Communications with a minor in Religion. She relocated to Louisiana for career advancement in 2020, and currently serves as Director of Human Resources over Nursing for Ochsner Healthcare System. 

She has volunteered with and contributed organizational and HR knowledge serving on the board and in development for numerous non-profit organizations. She has led representation of Veterans Affairs research on Capitol Hill and advocated for extending foster care age nationally. Currently she leads Skills for Life, which focuses on giving at risk youth the advantage of skills such as literacy, budgeting, hygiene, sexual safety, job skills, and parenting. 

Cori was a foster parent in Texas where she learned firsthand the challenges that all in the system face, whether caseworker, parent, foster child, or foster parent. Her passion for increasing opportunities for children in the foster system stemmed from those experiences and continues to grow as she meets and networks with new organizations which is how she met Kim Bigler, James Samaritan’s founder in late 2021.

She has raised two children of her own, becoming more active with James Samaritan when her daughter became a Navy Hospital Corpsman in 2021. She lives in Slidell with her son, Joseph, Australian Cattle Dog, Ella and Teacup Chihuahua, Emilee where she is active in Northshore Church.

Jonathan Evans (4)

Jonathan Evans

Board Treasurer

Originally from the Cleveland, OH area, Jonathan moved to New Orleans in 2002, where he quickly fell in love with the culture of Louisiana. Graduating with a degree in Education and Ministry from Leavell College at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Jonathan has led successful ventures in both franchisee and small local business management as well as 13 years in student ministry.  He is currently working with Iron Horse Financial to lead individuals and business owners on the path to feeling secure with their finances today, building wealth for tomorrow, and creating a legacy for future generations.  Jonathan is passionate about working in his community, especially working with junior and senior high aged youth.  Originally partnering with James Samaritan through the Gift-A-Lift Program, Jonathan enjoys getting his hands dirty teaching those in the program to maintain their vehicles and providing a support system as they navigate adulthood.  Along with his wife, Gabby and his two children, Jonathan enjoys family board games, movies, cooking new meals, and the occasional dad joke.

Englert, Sean

Sean Englert

Board Member

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. 

 

PXL_20230123_034920077.PORTRAIT_2

Rafael Flores

Board Member

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. 

Birkett 2

Rebecca Birkett

Board Member

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.