Karen Carpenter is a Floridian by choice, first coming here in the early 1980´s as a senior bank marketing officer from New England. Prior to her election, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer in Manatee County´s Project VISTA Vision Project 20/20, where she assisted the School District´s Adult Education, Career and Technical Education Department (ACT) with the MTI (Manatee Technical Institute) Foundation and the Take Stock in Children Scholarship and Mentor Program.
Ms. Carpenter currently chairs the Take Stock in Children Leadership Council, is a mentor with Take Stock, is Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of Manatee County, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, volunteers with Mothers Helping Mothers, and is a director of Sports Camp for Life, a youth mentoring and sports enrichment program for middle school boys. She has served as executive director of the Women´s Resource Director of Manatee County, Manatee Bankers for Affordable Housing, and the Foundation for Dreams; and consulted in resource development for the Homeless Coalition and New College.
She attended public schools in Reading, Massachusetts, and was granted the Procter & Gamble Scholarship to attend Wellesley College. Her first job was teaching Latin to middle, high school and state college students in San Diego California. Her Master´s Degree thesis measured the impact of school district size on teacher job satisfaction levels. In her mid- fifties, she attended law school, receiving the J. D. Degree and passing the bar in Massachusetts. Never intending to practice law, she wanted the skills and credentials to strengthen her advocacy for children and families.
Ms. Carpenter´s two daughters and four grandchildren live in the Boston area: Both daughters attended public schools and have masters´ degrees. One daughter is a charter school administrator, the other a nonprofit training manager.