Graduates of our program are granted automatic membership into the Leadership St. Tammany Alumni Foundation (LSTAF). This not-for-profit organization exists to keep our graduates educated about current events and involved in creating solutions to issues within the community. LSTAF holds several annual events to ensure that our graduates stay connected to one another and continue to grow in leadership wherever their occupation may lead them. These programs include both content-driven events and social events including:
The Foundation also awards monetary grants to non-profits in the community throughout the year.
Enjoy free admission to all alumni events and make a contribution by becoming a FRIEND sponsor today.
In 2019, the Leadership Alumni Board sought to further our nonprofit mission in the local community through the Community Grants Program. This program provides funding to nonprofit organizations in St. Tammany based on application and review. We are overjoyed to give back to the organizations that have provided so much to our community.
Although applications can be submitted at any time of the year, grants will be awarded quarterly, and are funded by generous donations from alumni “friends” sponsors. Further, organizations must submit a new grant application each year to be considered.
Each year, the LSTAF selects a past graduate of the Leadership St. Tammany program to receive the alumni of the year award. Recipients of this award embody the purpose of the LST program by exhibiting exemplary character, leadership, and a commitment to community enrichment. This award is both a testament to an individual’s impact on our parish, as well as a reflection of our gratitude for their excellent service.
Click to learn more about these Alumni:
The Alumni of the Year award is given to a graduate who has made a significant impact both in their profession and the broader community as well. If you know of a graduate of the Leadership St. Tammany Program that has contributed to the greater good of our parish, nominate them by filling out the form below.
2021 Alumna of the year
Christine Foster owns Environmental Business Specialists along with several other businesses with her husband, Mike.
As a graduate of the Leadership Class of 2008, she and classmate Dorable Dangerfield were part of a unique team of classmates who visited the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center and were so moved that they created a meaningful effort to take joy and gifts to those young people on Christmas Eve. Not just the next year, but for every year since. (The originating team included Sheri Sable-Campbell, Shane Mutter, and Todd Walley) The annual Christmas Eve visit to FPJDC has since been adopted by the entire Leadership Alumni Foundation and will continue as a proud legacy event initiated by that Class of 2008.
Christine served on the board of the Leadership Alumni Foundation for three years, during which she added to the legacy at the Juvenile Detention Center by creating a community garden (with funds from generous donors), personally hatching the idea, coordinating the plan and digging in the dirt with the grateful youngsters.
In addition to her involvement in Leadership, Christine is active in dozens of organizations and gives back in many ways.
She traveled to Uganda in 2021 with the “Watts of Love” program , a cause she is very passionate about. Watts of Love provides isolated communities and people in need with life changing solar lighting. She also traveled with Watts of Love to Lake Charles in 2020 where they supplied hundreds of solar lights after Hurricane Laura.
Some of her many other community involvements include:
Her fellow Leadership alumni Janet Fabre Smith said, “In addition to her involvement in Leadership, Christine is a community Energizer Bunny and Super Woman……active in dozens of organizations and giving back in so many ways. Christine is the poster child for what St. Tammany leaders should strive to be.”
2020 Alumnus of the year
Randy Ponthieux, Vice President at Heritage Bank, graduated from the Leadership St. Tammany
program in 2018.
As the youngest of five children, Randy fondly recalls sleeping with all of his brothers in one bedroom
with two double beds; and having a wonderful childhood.
Randy is known throughout the community for his sense of humor, his devotion to family and his over-
the-top generosity when it comes to giving his time in service to others.
“There are not many things I am not willing to do to raise money for a good cause,” Randy says. He is
known for his extroverted antics like dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmas, impersonating Bon Jovi for
a Habitat fundraiser and wearing a bra and tutu for the Bractoberfest fundraiser for the American
He has also given his time to the annual Leadership Christmas Eve visit to the Florida Juvenile Detention
Center, the Avanti seniors center, City of Covington, Home Builders Association and St. Tammany West
Habitat for Humanity, among others. And he volunteers his cooking skills whenever asked.
His colleague Robyn Brian said this about Randy: “His passion for good food and compassion
for helping people is illustrated in the many hours and weekends he devotes to cooking and
serving in our community fundraisers. If you have attended a fundraiser in St. Tammany, you
have undoubtedly tasted a dish made with love by this alum.”
2019 Alumnus of the year
A graduate of the Leadership class of 2017, Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker was born in Covington, Louisiana.
He served in the U.S.M.C. Reserve from 1986-1992 with a combat deployment between 1990-1991 to the first Gulf War. He began his law enforcement career as a reserve police officer in 1992 with the City of Mandeville, before accepting a full-time position in the department’s criminal patrol division in 1995. Chief Sticker rose through the ranks within the department over the years, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice along the way from Liberty University. He was appointed to the position of Chief of Police in August of 2016.
Notwithstanding the many professional awards and achievements along the way, Chief Sticker remains most proud of his family; his wife Tonia, two sons, three stepdaughters, and two grandsons.
Foundation President Leslie Martin said, “Chief Sticker is so deserving of this award. We are pleased to be able to recognize his proven leadership skills, especially in light of the tragic circumstances that he faced this year, with the loss of Captain Vince Liberto. He helped guide his department, the Liberto family, and the whole community through a sad and trying time. We are all truly grateful for that.”
2017 Alumnus of the yeaR
Tim grew up in Mandeville but now calls Covington his home. He started his law enforcement career at the young age of 20, patrolling the streets of western St. Tammany Parish for the Sheriff’s Office. He graduated from the Leadership St. Tammany program in 2007 and continued his rise through the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office. He held positions ranging from Patrol Deputy and Detective to the highest office of Chief Deputy. He was responsible for over 750 employees and a budget of more than $60 million. Tim retired in 2013 after 30+ years of service.
In October 2013, Tim was selected Chief of Police for the City of Covington, his hometown. He took over a department that was in turmoil. Officers were being arrested, the community lacked trust in the department, and the department lacked the fundamentals of police work. Tim brought in a community policing philosophy and immediately began rebuilding the relationship with the community. He started with a variety of safety campaigns, such as giving ice cream cones to those caught wearing seatbelts. During the Christmas holidays, some secret Santa’s from his department even passed out $100 bills to those in need.
In 2016, Tim collaborated with fellow Leadership St. Tammany graduate David Bottner (Class of 2016) to create Operation Angel, a program that would change the philosophy of law enforcement towards those suffering from drug addiction. With the cooperation of every law enforcement agency in the parish, as well as state and local officials, Tim announced the launch of Operation Angel to address the growing opioid addiction crisis in St. Tammany. No longer would law enforcement treat those suffering from addiction as a crime, but as a disease. Through a partnership with the faith-based drug rehabilitation center headed by Bottner – the New Orleans Mission and its Northshore facility, the Giving Hope Retreat – those suffering from addiction would be given help instead of handcuffs. Anyone suffering from any addiction can now walk into any law enforcement agency and simply ask for help, no questions asked. Within minutes, they are in the back seat of a police car and on the road to recovery. In the first year of the program, 132 people walked into law enforcement agencies in St. Tammany Parish and asked for help. To date, more than 200 have asked for assistance. The Covington Police Department and its partner agencies across the parish were the first Louisiana law enforcement agencies to adopt an Operation Angel program. They joined over 375 agencies in 32 states with similar programs.
Tim’s work on Operation Angel earned him an invitation to the White House to meet President Obama’s Director of National Drug Control Policy, along with numerous U.S. Senators, to bring attention to the nationwide opioid problem. Additionally, Tim has received a number of local and national awards, including the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s Excellence in Policing Award in January 2017, the National Leadership Award in Gloucester, Massachusetts in June 2017, the Crimestoppers Award of Excellence in March 2018, and the Bureau of Governmental Research Excellence in Government Award in May 2018.
Tim is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He also holds an undergraduate and Master of Criminal Justice degree from Loyola University, where he also served as an adjunct professor of criminal justice until his appointment as Chief of Police. Tim has sat on the board of directors for the Children’s Advocacy Center and Habitat for Humanity. He is an advisory board member of STOPS (St. Tammany Outreach for the Prevention of Suicide). He also has served on a variety of other community boards. Tim has been married to his wife Suzanne for 25 years, and they have two daughters, Alex and Sydney.
2018 Alumnus of the year
Mr. Folse is a native of St. Tammany Parish and a proud graduate of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System. He began his career as a Computer Literacy Teacher at Salmen High School and rose through the ranks of the School System serving in many different administrative positions. Mr. Folse was appointed Superintendent of the St. Tammany Parish Public School System in May of 2010 and currently leads the highest-ranked large School System in Louisiana with 55 schools, 39,000 students, and more than 5,000 employees.
As Assistant Superintendent, I work side by side with him every day in support of our students, employees, and stakeholders, and see firsthand the results his efforts have made in our community. Mr. Folse currently serves on the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany Advisory Board and the St. Tammany East Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board. He has previously served on the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. During his time as Superintendent, Mr. Folse has received the Crimestoppers’ Excellence in School Safety and Prevention Award, the Community Service Award from the Covington Branch of the NAACP, the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees “Man with a Mission” Award, the 2008 Bureau of Governmental Research “Excellence in Government” Keller Award for Innovation and the 2012 St. Tammany Deputy Sheriff’s Association Award. Superintendent Folse also received recognition as the 2013 ‘Men Who Cook’ Top Chef Award to benefit Hope House and for his efforts to organize the yearly “Black and Gold” Days within the School System and across the parish to benefit the Children’s Museum of St. Tammany.
Mr. Folse often brings state and national attention to St. Tammany Parish through his work in the academic community. He is currently serving as the President of the National Federation of Urban and Suburban School Districts, also known as NFUSSD. In 2017, he was selected as the Superintendent of the Year for the State of Louisiana. He was previously on the NFUSSD Board of Directors, the Governor’s Committee on K-12 Education Transition Advisory Team, and the recent Region II Chairman of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.
As a 2001 graduate of the Leadership St. Tammany, Mr. Folse has used the lessons learned through the program to truly serve his community on every level. As a Superintendent, he is a strong and devoted advocate for the children of St. Tammany Parish, working daily to ensure our schools are preparing every child for a successful future. As a community member, Mr. Folse’s leadership and generous involvement have had an integral role in the continued success of our community as he has continued to dedicate his life to the people of St. Tammany Parish.
2016 Alumna of the year
Cheryl has worked with the LA Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) since 2004, serving as the Region 9 manager. She participated in numerous coalitions to raise awareness for healthy living for the citizens of St. Tammany. In her work, she has helped to change the community for the better by educating people on the dangers of tobacco use.
Cheryl was actively involved with numerous community services in and outside of St. Tammany. A few of these organizations are listed below:
The St. Tammany Parish Government paid a special tribute to Cheryl at its June 2016 Council meeting. In the tribute, it was said that Cheryl had undaunted energy, passion, and leadership abilities that impacted countless organizations. The tribute declared, “her legacy will live on through the countless lives she touched and the instrumental role she played in creating systemic changes impacting our region’s culture of health. She undoubtedly left a footprint in our community and beyond. Cheryl was passionate about her work and had a vital leadership presence in our community. She has touched the lives of countless individuals and has been an inspiration to so many to become involved in their community. Cheryl’s legacy will live on through the changes she set in motion. She will always remain in our hearts and memory.”