Our Staff

Christy Papania-Jones, M.Ed. +30, Ed.S. 

Christy founded the St. Nicholas Center in February 2008, and opened the doors to the children in October 2008. She serves as both the founder and the Executive Director of the Center. She earned her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA in 1996. She also earned a master’s in Education for Guidance Counseling in 1998, and an Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision in 2001. She is currently the Guidance Counselor at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral School in Lake Charles, and has been in this position since 1997. Mrs. Jones has served on the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC); a governor appointed advisory board for the Louisiana State Early Intervention System. Her certifications include teaching PK-8, Counseling PK-12, Supervising student teachers, Supervisor of Instruction, Child Search Coordinator, and Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance. Christy has a special interest in children with developmental delays as her own son is faced with this challenge. She opened the center in the hopes that her son, as well as other children like him, would receive the very best ABA therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy that Southwest Louisiana could offer.

Dynette Hoffpauir

Dynette joined St. Nicholas Center for Children in 2010 and has worn many hats, but most recently serves in Accounts Receivable. She studied Business at Louisiana State University in Alexandria. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center, Dynette was self-employed.

Denise Arendt-Duke

Denise joined St. Nicholas Center for Children in June 2014 as a Coding and Auditing Specialist. She became a Certified Medical Auditor (CMA) in 2001, and a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) in 2004 through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Before joining St. Nicholas Center, Denise worked at a multi-specialty clinic for 25 years.

Samantha F. Serice

Samantha joined St. Nicholas Center in 2014 serving in Accounts Receivable. Before working at the Center, she was employed for 24 years working at a local private laboratory as a Certified Phlebotomist and Licensed Laboratory Assistant before moving into the billing department in charge of Accounts Receivable. She gained experience filing various patient insurance and eventually served as Medicare Insurance Coordinator.

Valerie Spears

Valerie joined St. Nicholas Center for Children in 2017 in Accounts Receivable, and is now working as the Intake Coordinator. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center, she worked as a receptionist at The Pediatric Center and a Medical Office Assistant for Weightwise. She also has a certification in phlebotomy and a cosmetology license.

Jennifer Wright

Jennifer joined St. Nicholas Center in Accounts Receivable in 2017. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center for Children, she worked at the Eye Clinic for four years in their accounts receivable department. In 2013, she obtained an associates degree in medical office billing and coding.

Nikkia Ybarra

Nikkia rejoined St. Nicholas Center for Children in 2016 and has worn many hats, but most recently serves as the Human Resource Coordinator. She also assists with Facilities/Maintenance and has a background in doing contract work for local companies. She studied business and organizational management and is a current member of the Society for Human Resource Management working toward her certification. She has been trained in Employment Law, OSHA and HIPAA compliance, and oversees licensure compliance within the organization; among other duties. Prior to the St. Nicholas Center, Nikkia stayed at home with her two children until she found her niche in the non-profit sector.

Tausha Kordisch

Tausha Kordisch joined St. Nicholas Center for Children in 2017 as the family support and community outreach coordinator.  Tausha is passionate about education and providing opportunities for growth.  She received a bachelors degree in elementary education and art K-8 from the University of Northern Iowa in 1999. Prior to SNC, Tausha worked in various leadership roles within schools and within an international educational non-profit that provided social emotional learning to children.   As a curriculum writer and trainer in this organization she developed a great ability to communicate and seek out other perspectives in order to make informed decisions and to properly empower others to use and develop their strengths. These skills combined with her 15 years of teaching experiences and now a new passion for autism awareness due to her son’s recent diagnosis, has prepared her to create and develop an outreach program to support and educate our community.

Amanda LaGrange

Amanda LaGrange joined the St. Nicholas Center for Children in January 2017 as the Center’s Development Director. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism in 2008 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2010 both from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining the team, Amanda worked in development for nonprofit and governmental agencies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ada O’Quain

Ada started working for St. Nicholas Center in August of 2015 as the Executive Assistant after moving back to Lake Charles from Fort Stewart, GA. She began working with our fundraisers in 2016 and quickly discovered it was her true passion. In 2017 she became the Event Coordinator. She will graduate from McNeese State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies and hopes to continue her education. She is thrilled to be on the St. Nicholas Center team and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Colleen Cornwall, BCBA-D, ABA Consultant

Dr. Colleen Cornwall is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with more than 14 years of experience practicing ABA with a multitude of individuals. Dr. Cornwall is a Doctor of Education in Special Education with an emphasis in Curriculum Development, a master’s of Science in Varying Exceptionalities with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emotional/Behavioral Disturbances. Dr. Cornwall is the founder and director of ABLE academy in Naples, FL. She currently serves as an consultant to the St. Nicholas Center.

Rachel Wright Lyons, M.A., BCBA, Program Coordinator

Rachel joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in February 2009 as a clinician. After receiving her master’s degree, she rejoined the Center in June 2011 as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from McNeese State University in 2008 and her master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese State University in 2011. She has worked with children with various diagnoses in clinical, school, and home settings for the last 5 years. Rachel serves as our Program Coordinator.

Julie Duval Savoie, M.A., BCBA

Julie joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in January 2013. She received her bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences from McNeese State University. She received her master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese State University. Julie has experience in working with children in clinical settings and conducting in home therapy.

Zack Storer, M.A., BCBA

Zack joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in July of 2013 as a clinician and a BCBA in November 2013. He earned a bachelor’s degree from McNeese State University in Psychology and a master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. He has experience working with children and adolescents in a variety of environments that include: in home, school, and clinical settings. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center, Zack provided in-home therapy for children of various diagnoses.

Calvin Cryer, M.A., BCBA, LBA

Calvin joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in August 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at McNeese State University in 2005, and a Master of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in December 2011. He has experience working with children and adolescents in a variety of environments that include: in home, school, and clinical settings. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center, Calvin provided in-home and in-school therapy for children of various diagnoses.

Lee Allen Leger Jr., M.A., BCBA, LBA

Lee began working at the St. Nicholas Center for Children in August 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Liberal Arts concentration in Philosophy in May 2011 at McNeese State University. He also earned a Master of Arts in Psychology with a dual concentration in Experimental/General Psychology, and the ABAI accredited Applied Behavior Analysis program at McNeese State University in December 2014. Lee has experience working with children of various ages and diagnosis in a clinical setting.

Tiffany Williamson Roberts, M.A., BCBA

Tiffany joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in May 2010. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Northwestern State University and master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese State University in 2010. Tiffany is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her experience includes teaching special education, working with children of various ages and diagnoses, conducting in-home ABA therapy and school consultations.

Sarah Parks, M.A., BCBA

Sarah returned to the team in August 2013. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in math in 2005 from McNeese State University.  After teaching high school math for Allen and Calcasieu Parishes for 3 years, Sarah received her Master’s degree in Teaching in 2007 from McNeese State University and began working at St. Nicholas Center upon its opening in October of 2008.  Sarah also received her Master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2009 from McNeese State University and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in May of 2010.  Before returning to St. Nicholas Center, she worked as a behavior consult for the Calcasieu Parish School Board for two and a half  years, focusing on behavior observations and interventions, teacher consultation, parent training, and direct instruction.

Katherine Cole, M.A., BCBA

Katy joined St. Nicholas Center in June 2015 as an ABA clinician. She received her Associate’s in Arts & Humanities and Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She received her Master’s in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in May 2015 and became a BCBA in October 2015. Katy has worked with children with varying diagnoses in a clinical setting.

Sarah Schultz White, M.S., BCBA

Sarah joined the St. Nicholas Center in October 2013 as an ABA clinician. She received her Bachelor’s in General Studies from McNeese State University in 2010. After working for St. Nicholas Center for about a year, she decided to make Applied Behavior Analysis her career and received a M.S. in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Behavior Analysis in December 2014. Sarah has experience working with children in both clinical and school settings.

Mary Beth Welch, M.A., BCBA

Mary Beth joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in August of 2017. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from McNeese State University in 2015. She received her Master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from McNeese State University in 2017. Mary Beth has experience in working with children and adolescents in clinical settings and working in group settings implementing social skills. She also has conducted a research study and presented at the ABAI Conference in Denver 2017 on Social Skills in a Group Setting.

Kristine Alcantara, BcABA, SCABA

Kristine earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from McNeese State University in 2010, where she was the founder and President of the Pre-Pharmacy Society. She began her journey with St. Nicholas Center for Children as a member of the Board of Directors in 2011. She was employed as the Assistant Director in August 2012 and enrolled at Florida Institute of Technology in January 2013 to pursue certification in becoming a Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). Four months later, Kristine became a Registered Line Technician with the state of Louisiana to provide direct ABA therapy to the children. Immediately after passing the BCaBA board exam, Kristine enrolled at Ashford University’s Masters in Education program in May 2017, specializing in Teaching and Learning with Technology (MTALT). While at the St. Nicholas Center, Kristine has had experience with event planning for fundraisers, school shadowing, case managing, leading small group therapy for the progressions classroom at St. Theodore’s Holy Family Catholic School, and staff training. Kristine currently is the assistant to all BCBAs with their various duties.

Christina Brown, M.A., BCBA, LBA

Christina joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in June 2017. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston in May 2014 and is certified to teach Special Education through 12th grade as well as General Education early childhood through 6th grade in Texas. She received her Master’s degree in Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities from Sam Houston State University in May 2017. She spent 3 years as a high school special education teacher in the public schools in northwest Houston. Christina has experience working with adolescents in home and in the school setting. Her experience also includes working with individuals with various diagnosis in the school setting focused on social skills, functional skills and daily living skills needed for the transition post high school.

Kylie Cormier, M.S., BCBA, 

Kylie began working at the St. Nicholas Center for Children in July 2012 as an ABA clinician.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a concentration in English Literature from McNeese State University. She received her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Behavior Analysis from St. Joseph’s University in December 2014, and became a BCBA in May 2016. Kylie has experience working with children of various ages in both clinical and school settings.

Joe Hacker, M.A., BCBA, LBA

Joe joined the team at St. Nicholas Center in November 2017. He has 10 years experience working with children with the latter 3 being in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Earning his bachelor’s degree in Psychology in December 2014, he received his master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis in May 2017. After obtaining his master’s degree, Joe became a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and was licensed to practice in the state of Louisiana in October 2017. He has experience providing services in home, school, and in a clinical setting to individuals with a variety of diagnoses, aged in to young adulthood.

Annie Choate, M.Ed., BCBA

Annie joined St. Nicholas Center in February 2010. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from McNeese State University in 2009. She earned her Master’s degree in Education, with a major in Curriculum and Instruction and a concentration in High Incidence Disabilities, with Applied Behavior Analysis Option, in 2016 from Nicholls State University. Annie has experience working with children in the clinical and school settings and is PEAK Level 1 certified. Prior to working at St. Nicholas Center, she has experience providing Equine Therapy to individuals with a wide variety of disabilities in the lake area.

Cameron Scallan, MA, BCBA, LBA

Cameron began volunteering with children diagnosed with autism while studying for his bachelor’s in psychology at McNeese State University. He completed his undergrad in 2014, and then remained at McNeese to complete his master’s in psychology with a focus in applied behavior analysis in 2016. Cameron joined the St. Nicholas Center in July 2018 after two years of supervising the treatment of autism spectrum disorder in Dallas, Texas. He has experience with children ages 3 to 14, and is certified in the PEAK (Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge ) assessment and curriculum. Outside of autism Cameron also has interests in Organizational Behavior Management, and the improvement of behaviors related to health and nutrition.

Laura White Hanchey, LOTR

Laura joined St. Nicholas Center for Children in June of 2017. She graduated from McNeese State University with her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Performance with her concentration in Exercise Science in December of 2014.  She then graduated with honors from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, Austin TX campus with her Masters in Occupational Therapy in April of 2017. While at McNeese, she completed her internship at SNC, where she discovered her love for working with children. She is thrilled to be a member of the therapy team at SNC.

Jessica Coates, LOTR

Jessica received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Louisiana State University in 2008.  She graduated from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy in August 2011.  Jessica’s passion for children and facilitating functional progress has only grown throughout her years working in pediatric outpatient clinics; both in Lafayette, LA, and in Dallas, TX.  Her experience has been primarily with children with developmental delays, sensory processing challenges, autism spectrum disorder, learning differences, attention deficit disorder, as well as feeding difficulties/picky eating.  She looks forward to joining the St. Nicholas staff to serve children and their families in SWLA!

Michelle Lynn Kramer, M.A., CCC-SLP

Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama in 1994 and her master’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston in 1996. She has been providing Speech Therapy Service in both the private sector and the school system for the last 15 years. She is a member of Speech Pathologist and Audiologist in Louisiana Schools and American Speech and Hearing Association. She has worked with children ages birth to 21 years of age in the areas of articulation, oral motor skills, receptive and expressive language, and auditory processing.

Alisa Trahan Burklow, M.A., CCC-SLP

Alisa joined St. Nicholas Center as a Speech Language Pathologist in August 2015. She attended Louisiana State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in 2008, as well as her master’s degree in 2010 in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is a member of American Speech and Hearing Association and the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Alisa has experience providing speech therapy in the private sector and the school system for the last five years. She has worked with children of all ages with a variety of diagnoses.

Elizabeth Bass, M.A., CCC-SLP

Elizabeth joined the team at St. Nicholas Center for Children in July 2018. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Louisiana State University in 2012 with a minor in Psychology. Elizabeth is a member of the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. She has previous experience providing speech therapy in school and clinical settings. She also has several years of experience providing ABA therapy in a private setting as a registered line technician to children on the autism spectrum. Her areas of experience include articulation, oral motor, receptive/expressive language, and auditory processing deficits.