Kari Anne Morris Carr was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1996. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Spanish from Northwestern University in 2000 after spending her junior year studying in Spain. In 2003, she earned her Master of Science in Education, also from Northwestern. Kari completed her PhD. at Indiana University in 2014 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She partnered with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in her research of newly formed charter schools at two of their closed Catholic schools. Her dissertation title was “When Catholic Schools Close and Become Charter Schools: A case study of organizational narratives and legitimacy.”
Kari began her teaching career as part of the Inner-City Teaching Corps at Good Shepherd Elementary School in Chicago’s Little Village where she was a Math and general classroom teacher. Corps members lived in the neighborhoods where they taught and earned $5.oo per day; their salaries went back to Chicago's low income Catholic schools for scholarships or direct aid. Since Kari speaks fluent Spanish she incorporated Spanish and English into all the subjects she taught. After moving to Indianapolis, she taught Math and Logic at the Oaks Academy. She was also the Assessment Administrator coordinating admissions assessments for Pre-K to 8th grade while consulting with faculty, administrators and parents. She spent a year as the Curriculum Coordinator and co-designed the Kindergarten, First and Second grades Early Reading and Language Arts Program. Kari also directed the development, revision and professional development of curriculum in Math, Language Arts, History, Science, Nature Study, Art and Music Appreciation. Kari was also the Director of Academic Development directing curriculum, professional development and data and assessment strategy. She was a teaching assistant to Dr. Craig Willey at Indiana University and to Dr. Samantha Paredes Scribner at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. She was a Graduate Research Assistant and Project Lead at the Center for Urban and Multicultural Education at Indiana University.
In 2013, Kari became an adjunct professor in the School of Education, Master’s Degree program at IUPUI. More recently, she was the Curriculum Specialist and Instructional Coach at St. Joan of Arc School until that position was eliminated due to budget cuts and the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, she is a visiting professor in the School of Education at IUPUI.
Kari has authored or coauthored journal articles, book chapters, manuscripts and technical reports dealing with education in general, Catholic, and more specifically, Charter schools. She has made research presentations based on the nine papers she either wrote or co-wrote.
Kari is involved in a myriad of volunteer activities. She was a member of the Enrollment Committee for the Notre Dame ACE Academies- Indianapolis, the Grant Proposal Committee for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Managing Editor to Dr. Samantha Paredes Scribner for a special issue of the Journal; of Cases in Educational Leadership, Saint Joan of Arc School volunteer consultant, Birthline Crisis Pregnancy Outreach helpline volunteer and volunteer artist at Sunrise Assisted Living.
Kari’s parents, Judy and John Morris nominated her for the Hall of Fame. Judy wrote that Kari’s first teaching job at Good Shepherd “pointed her to gain more knowledge in the area of adolescent learning” which was the focus of her Master’s Degree. She also emphasized that Kari’s faith has directed her life: here at Newman through Peer Ministry and at Northwestern through numerous service trips and teaching Religion to CPS students. At their first parish, St. Monica, Kari and her husband, Tony, started and then coordinated the babysitting ministry and were Catechists in the Sunday School Program. They continue to be active in their current parish, St. Joan of Arc.
Kari’s husband and four of their five children were part of her journey to her PhD. When Kari started they were a family of three with a daughter, Kellyn. Kari postponed school for two years with Kellyn and second daughter, Paige. Her studies and research were moving along quite nicely, when Elliot was born. Kari remembers the day she went into her advisor’s office to tell her that Drew was on the way; Elliot was 9 months old. Fortunately, Dr. Paredes Scribner convinced Kari that her background was also part of the research process and her personal life could be part of the narrative that shaped and gave meaning to her research. Kari was studying the changeover from Catholic to Charter schools and many teachers who were mothers found themselves in the same spot as Kari. They had more to do in a lot less time. Kari took her qualifying exams at 38 weeks pregnant and graduated when their children were 9, 7, 4 and 3. Kari’s friends think she works best under pressure of a deadline and Maryella missed all the excitement.
Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Kari is that she kept order in their life by emphasizing faith and family before anything else.