Beth Benedix

Beth is originally from Bucks County, PA. She received her B.A, M.A and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Illinois, and is a Professor of World Literature, Religious Studies and Community Engagement at DePauw University.  A passionate advocate for learning communities that empower, transform, nurture creativity, and encourage playfulness, Beth is ever-in-awe of the teachers, students, artists and volunteers she has met through her work with The Castle.  Beth lives in Greencastle with her husband and two sons (who are growing up fast!).

Founder and Executive Director

Kara Jedele

Kara joined The Castle staff in 2014 as a Program Director; she is taking on the role of Media Coordinator in 2017.  Kara was a middle school classroom teacher for six years before joining The Castle.  She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and received her B.A. and M.A. in education from the University of Michigan.  Teaching in Greencastle, Kara fell in love with the vision of The Castle program as it came into her classroom. She saw her students connect with curriculum in a meaningful and authentic way. Relationships were made with community members and DePauw faculty and students in ways that may not have been possible otherwise. Though it was difficult to leave the classroom, The Castle has been a way for her spend more time with her two beautiful children and continue contributing to public education as a resource to teachers and students.  Kara and her husband, Paul, are business owners in the community and are committed to supporting public education.

Media Coordinator and Program Director, Greencastle Community Schools

Lisa Cooper

Lisa grew up in the Greencastle community and is a graduate of Greencastle High School and DePauw University.  She’s almost-retired from 20 years of being a public school teacher specializing in gifted education, but continues part-time as a consultant for the South Putnam High Ability Program.  Always passionate about creative people as well as ideas, The Castle offered the perfect opportunity to be involved with both.  Lisa  jumped in as a volunteer and enthusiastic supporter in The Castle’s initial stages to help bring a pilot program to Fillmore elementary, and has worked in various capacities since.  She now works as the Program Director for Fillmore and the extended South Putnam family.  Lisa lives in the countryside southwest of town where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their two grandchildren.

Program Director, South Putnam Schools

Joe Garbe

Joe Garbe is a 2014 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Agricultural & Applied Economics and Environmental Studies. He went on to work with farms throughout the Midwest and even start his own small-scale sustainable farm in 2015. Since moving to Greencastle with his fiance Malorie in 2017, Joe has had the pleasure of working with The Castle to manage the Tzouanakis gardens and host environmental education workshops for elementary school students.

Castle Garden Educator

Cindy Huddleston

Cindy graduated from IU with  physical education and recreation degree.  She taught PE for 10 years in Wayne Township.  She also co-owned and coached at Westside Gymnastics for 20 years.  Cindy received her masters in secondary education at DePauw University and went on to get 30 more hours in special-education from Ball State as a behavioral specialist.  She worked with Emotional Disabilities students at North Putnam school corporation for 14 years.  Cindy is also the founder and president of the non-for-profit organization Putnam County Kids Count, Inc.  She is now retired and lives with her husband at Heritage Lake.  They have 14 grandkids and keep very, very busy.

Program Co-Director, North Putnam Schools

Joanie Knapp

Joanie is a lifelong resident of Putnam County.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master of Arts in teaching degrees at DePauw University.  She began her teaching career at Roachdale Elementary and later taught at North Putnam Middle School.  Joanie is actively engaged in several organizations, including Roachdale Revitalization Cooperative Alliance, Delta Theta Tau sorority, and the North Putnam Alumni Association.  Committed to education, Joanie is passionate about creating experiences to build self-esteem, encourage achievement, and motivate students to perform to their potential.  She is looking forward to being involved with The Castle as she pursues further occasions to experience seeing students engaging in meaningful learning opportunities.

Program Co-Director, North Putnam Schools

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