Our Team

Office Phone: 931-670-3025

Russell Casteel: Executive Director (Director Ejecutivo)
Russell Casteel: Executive Director (Director Ejecutivo)

russell.casteel@twkumc.org

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Jessi Persson: Program Director
Jessi Persson: Program Director

jessi.persson@twkumc.org

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Davis Winstead: Grounds Director (Director de Jardines)
Davis Winstead: Grounds Director (Director de Jardines)

davis.winstead@twkumc.org

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Phil Salter: Environmental Education Director ( Director de Educación Ambiental)
Phil Salter: Environmental Education Director ( Director de Educación Ambiental)

philip.salter@twkumc.org

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Becky Kilian: Director of Culinary Services (Directora de Servicios Culinarios)
Becky Kilian: Director of Culinary Services (Directora de Servicios Culinarios)

becky.kilian@twkumc.org

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Beth Shirley: Program Intern (Pasante del Programa)
Beth Shirley: Program Intern (Pasante del Programa)
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Bea Barnett: Resident Educator
Bea Barnett: Resident Educator

bea@cedarcrestcamp.org

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Tate Kinney: Adventure and Grounds Staff
Tate Kinney: Adventure and Grounds Staff
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Executive Director

Russell Casteel

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Program Director

Jessi Persson

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Grounds Director

Davis Winstead

About Davis

Davis Winstead is the Grounds Director at Cedar Crest. Davis joined Cedar Crest after a 6-month hike from Maine to Georgia down the Appalachian Trail. Davis can usually be found walking our grounds spending time in creation. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2013 with a degree in economics and has nearly a decade of experience in outdoor ministry and direction as well as challenge course facilitation. Davis enjoys working with his hands, bicycle racing, and a good play on words.

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About Russell

Our Executive Director, Russell Casteel, originally hails from Mississippi. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University as well as Candler School of Theology at Emory University. As a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, he has over 16 years of experience in camping ministry and is certified in Camp/Retreat Ministry in the United Methodist Church. He is passionate about helping to create places where others can experience God, grow in their faith, and connect with God’s creation. Russell is married to Callie, who is awesome. Callie is a graduate of The University of the South (Sewanee) and has a Master’s degree from the University of Mississippi. Callie is the Southeast Farm and Market Outreach Coordinator For A Greener World . They have two children, Brown and Flora. 

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About Jessi

Jessi Persson is our Program Director. She is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and most recently a graduate of Candler School of Theology, Emory University with a Master of Divinity and a Certificate in Religious Education. Jessi has over seven years of experience in Camp and Retreat Ministries, and additional experience in the care and education of children. She enjoys being active in creation, playing camp games, rock climbing, and having theological conversation over a cup of cold brew coffee.

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Environmental Education Director

Phil Salter

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Director of Culinary 

Services

Becky Kilian

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Program Intern

Beth Shirley

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Resident Educator

Bea Barnett

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Grounds and Adventure Staff

Tate Kinney

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About Tate

Tate Kinney is a member of our Grounds and Adventure Staff. Tate has 5 years of camp and retreat experience. He joined the Cedar Crest community in 2017 first serving in a seasonal kitchen role. He is excited about this new role and is looking forward to expanding his adventure and wilderness knowledge.

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About Becky

Becky Kilian is our Director of Culinary Services at Cedar Crest. Becky has extensive backgrounds in both corporate and ministerial work and has been cooking at Cedar Crest during the summers and retreat seasons since 2015. Becky also has several years of experience as an EMT and volunteer firefighter. She and her family enjoy living the farm life on their land between Dickson and Clarksville, and the food (especially the desserts!) Mrs. Becky whips up our all-time favorites of our campers and staff members.

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About Phil

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Phil Salter is our Environmental Education Director here at Cedar Crest. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and Drew University Theological School in Madison, NJ. He is a licensed educator and has close to a decade of camping and education experience with children and youth and believes in experiential education for learners of all ages. Phil is interested in linking our affinities and connections to the natural world with practical avenues towards justice and has led college groups on trips to take part in service-learning and community engagement surrounding issues like mountaintop removal. He currently serves on the board for the Tennessee Environmental Education Association. Phil loves to seek out the small things creeping along the trails, enjoys watching films, and is a strong advocate of breakfast for all meals.

About Beth

Beth Shirley is our Program Intern. Beth graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in Management in 2021 and has a strong interest in Nonprofit Management. She has over 6 years experience in camp & youth ministry settings. Beth is a lover of plants and cats

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About Bea

Beatrice “Bea” Barnett is our Resident Educator here at Cedar Crest. Bea graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with two bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish in 2020 and is consistently increasing her fluency in the Spanish language. She has over five years of experience in children and youth ministry, much of this time dedicated to camping and retreat ministry. Bea loves to write, draw, and read; she has a deep passion for communication and connection with both people and the natural world. She has one too many houseplants, one too many tea sets, but never too many friends.

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Interested in Summer Staff?

If you are looking for a summer job that is transformative, rejuvenating, and tons of fun, check out Cedar Crest's summer staff application!

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