Meet our Staff:
Level 3 Provider
My name is Mara Neal. I absolutely love working at Agape'. I have been a lead toddler teacher, and now I am happy to be working in the office. I enjoy getting to know all of the children here as well as their families. I am married and have two beautiful girls. Being a parent, I understand wanting the absolute best care for your child. I strongly believe Agape' does this as well as provide them with a strong foundation of loving Jesus.
Steve White joined the Agape’ Learning Center staff on September 17, 2019 as Chaplain. Steve just retired as an educator of 41 years, serving at the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children’s Home (24 yrs.), Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility (9 yrs), and Anderson Preparatory Academy (8 yrs.). He is a founding member of Memorial Baptist Church where he serves as an Elder, Adult Bible Teacher, and on the missions committee. Steve has been married to his wife, Amy for 40 years and they have two children and four grandchildren. Steve has hobbies of bike riding and working outside. He loves being in a position to share the love of Jesus Christ with the Agape family.
Hello! My name is Kelsay Smith. I started working at Agape in 2013. My husband Jordan and I live in New Castle. We are foster parents and are currently caring for 2 of the sweetest little girls. We love traveling, being outdoors, spending time with family and hanging out with the youth at our church. I went to Agape as a child and I see the impact it had on me. I'm so thankful I get the opportunity to work here and invest in your children like my teachers did for me.
Lead Teacher (Purple Room)
Hello, my name is Ms. Kara. I joined Agape’s staff in August of 2019. Since then, I have earned my CDA certification in Early Childhood Education and have been given the opportunity to lead teach in the purple room since June 2021. I am not only a teacher her at Agape, I am also a mother. I have been blessed with 6 children and 1 wonderful daughter-in-law! My youngest is an energetic 6-year-old who attends kindergarten here at Agape! God has blessed me abundantly!! It is my desire to instill in your kids the unconditional love God has for all of us as they grow and learn.
Lead Teacher (Room 14)
My name is Lesa Stewart. I am happily married to Dewayne Stewart for 34 years. We have been blessed with 4 children. I began my early childhood career almost 27 years ago here at Agape’ Learning Center. I later moved on to teach preschool and have a licensed day care in my home. I am happy to be back here at Agape’ where I am blessed to care for your children.
Lead Teacher (Room 16)
My name is Miss Payton. I started at Agape in February 2022. I am currently in school to get my bachelors in education. I am a mother to my amazing daughter, Erika. When I am not working, I enjoy reading, painting, sewing, and spending time with family. My boyfriend and I are raising our daughter who we love watching grow up and become her own person. I am so excited to get to know your child and teach them about Jesus and how amazing He is!
Assistant Teacher (Green Room)
My name is Francesca Lao but your kiddos call me Miss Frankie. I'm 20 years old. I graduated from New Castle High School in 2018 and started at Agape' in September of 2019. In the Spring I plan on going to school to get my Degree in Early Childhood Education. In my free time I love to sing, go to church, spend time with family and friends, read the Bible and tell other people about Jesus! I feel very blessed to be teaching and loving your kiddos everyday!
Lead Teacher (Green Room)
My name is Kelly Dirickson. I teach in the infant room. I have my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and am currently about half way through my bachelors. I have been at Agape since April of 2018. Through the years I have worked with children starting from 6 weeks up to about 12 years old. I am a proud mother to my daughter Lillyana
and bonus mom to my boyfriends two sons. I am also the proud dog mom to Leroy. In my free time I enjoy spending time with friends and family, singing, reading, fishing, and I have recently taken up photography.
I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with your child, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.
Lead Teacher (Blue Room)
My Name is Emma. I am a wife, a mother to 1 boy and 2 girls and came to work at Agape in November of 2019. I have been involved in children’s ministry through my church in one way or another for 9 years. It is a amazing blessing to be able to watch a child grow and learn, so I am so happy to be able to be apart of Agape.
Hello my name is Miss. Evie and I have been working at Agape since March of 2019. I work with many age groups here, and have worked with kids in church since I was thirteen. Next year I plan to work towards earning my Paramedics license. In my free time I love to read, bake, and play with different forms of art!
I began my journey as the K-4 teacher in 2006. My desire is to plant seeds in the heart of your child that grow into a love for Jesus and a joy of learning. I am married to Jeff and we are blessed with 3 sons and 2 daughters-in-law. I enjoy taking walks, studying God’s Word, and spending time with my family.
K4 All Day Teacher
I first came to Agape' when my oldest daughter started day care in 2012 and joined the teaching staff in 2014. I am here because I love spending time with the children, helping motivate and prepare them as they grow, evolve and discover that they are special. Agape' is an extraordinary place with an incredible combination of people all working together for a common noble purpose. It is more than just a day care/school, it is truly a family.
I am blessed to join the Agape’ teaching staff this year. This is my 35th year of teaching young children with most of those years teaching Kindergarten at Tri Elementary. It is always a joy to see how children learn and discover at their own pace. I am so excited to see how our K3 students respond to the curriculum that we use here at Agape’.
Assistant K4 Teacher
Hello, my name is Miss Kylena. I am married with two daughters of my own and two step daughters. I have been at Agape' since 2016. While I have worked here, I have had the privilege to move up with some of the children since they were babies. I am happy to be a part of the Agape' Family! We strive to provide the best care for our students.
My name is Ken Hall. I am a substitute teacher and currently filling in for Mrs. Davis in her K4 class. I have been married for almost 20 years. Together we have five wonderful children, Evelynn, Benjamin, Anabelle, Abigail and Eleanore. I have been a Senior Pastor, Associate Pastor and Young Adults Pastor for the past 20 years. I have also worked as a Substitute teacher for Muncie Community Schools for 16 years. I am looking forward to working with your child while they are here at Agape. My desire is that they would learn and grow in the love of God, and have fun doing it.
My name is Peggy Lee I started at Agape' in 2018. I have lived in New Castle most of my life. I am married to Michael and have four children and four beautiful grandchildren!
While working here I have the pleasure teaching 4 and 5 year olds. But with the expansion I will be working with the older twos! I am so blessed to be a part of your children's life. I am also excited to see what God has in stored for me and the Apape' family!
My name is Ms. Barbara, my husband and I are Foursquare pastors and have 5 children! I have been with Agape since the beginning of 2017. I spent the first year and a half in the nursery and loved it! I am now a Wing Manager for the older kids and have enjoyed getting to know so many new faces! In my new position I get to work with numerous teachers in various capacities and am thrilled to help resource, train and aid new and old staff alike! I am not only a staff member at Agape, but a proud Agape parent as well! I believe that what my child gains from her teachers, programs, and lessons is life giving, hope building, and love enriched with eternal values...I am grateful to all who have poured His love into her and so many others.
Lead Teacher (Arctic Room)
K4 and K5 Art Teacher
Hello! My name is Lisa Robertson. I have worked with children for many years; in after school programs, summer programs, as a teacher’s assistant in Christian preschool, in a child care center, in a home day care and now here at Agape’. It is an honor and privilege, through projects and crafts or prayers and songs, to let the children know that Jesus Christ loves each and every one of us!
Lead Teacher (Orange Room)
My name is Ashley Smith. I joined the Agape' family in January 2020. I am 32 and married, we have a 12 year old daughter together and I have a 24 year old step daughter who has blessed us with a wonderful grandson on October 12, 2019. My family is very important to me and my husband is my best friend! I worked in a home daycare for 7 years when my daughter was a baby and I am so thrilled to be working with children again! They are all truly blessings from God. In my spare time I enjoy baking, sewing and all arts & crafts
Assistant Teacher (Blue Room)
Hello, my name is Sara Riley. I am married to my husband Josh. We had our first child, Amelia May of 2021. I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days with her along with all of her friends here at Agape. The great thing about working with the infants is to be able to watch them learn everything so quickly. We are so excited to be apart of our new Agape family!
Assistant Teacher (Pond Room)
Hello! My name is Miss Sam. I am 28 years old & the mother of a wonderful 16 month old boy who also attends Agape'. I joined the Agape' family pretty recently, but I can genuinely say since joining I have felt nothing but welcome & like I have gained another family. I truly enjoy being with the kiddos & helping them to learn, especially when I am helping them to learn about God. I have worked with children for several years, some in a preschool classroom & some within my own family. I believe each & every child is a true blessing from God & I enjoy their presence. I can not wait to see what the future holds for me here at Agape!