Kari graduated from St. Cloud High School, a family tradition she shares with both her late Grandfather, Cecil “Guzie” Whaley and her dad, Keith Whaley. She then went on to graduate from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. Kari also holds a master’s degree in Social Studies Education from Columbia University in the City of New York, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education at the University of Central Florida. In 2012, she was selected as a recipient of the prestigious James Madison Fellowship. As a James Madison Fellow, Kari was able to study American history at Georgetown University and spend time exploring the Smithsonian Museums and historical sites in D.C.
Kari and her son, Reyce, enjoy traveling and spending their free time outdoors. They recently traveled to Alaska to explore the Tongass National Rainforest, go rock climbing in the Klondike, visit Sawyer Glacier, and then travel across Canada on the transcontinental train from Vancouver to Toronto. Kari also spent time in South Africa, where she went cage diving with Great Whites in Shark Alley.
Before joining the Osceola Historical Society, Kari worked as a staffer for the United States Senate. She then became a social studies teacher. During her tenure in the classroom, Kari worked to secure classroom and school grants that provided greater access to historical and literacy-based resources. She also participated in the three-year Teaching American History Grant where she had the opportunity to expand her own understanding of United States History through professional development and historical travel.
At the Osceola County Historical Society, Kari will direct the summer camp program. Each week of the summer camp has a different theme and activities for local students. For Kari, this means that each week has unique opportunities for engaging subject and lesson plans about Osceola’s history. Past summer camps have included an archaeological dig, a battle reenactment, building shelters, solar cooking, treasure hunts, big foot expeditions, and more. Kari is also in charge of educational field trips throughout the school year. There are a variety of components available, including a tour of the Pioneer Village, a pioneer food tasting, a guided hike of Shingle Creek Regional Park, and a tour of the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum.