Karrie’s life has long been characterized by both privilege and an acute sensitivity to the challenges facing those less fortunate than herself. Although she grew up in a happy professional family, her childhood was marked by uncertainty. Her father, Jack Unterhalter, was a civil rights lawyer in the Apartheid era, active in left-wing politics, and Karrie recalls him keeping a packed briefcase by the door during the state of emergency in case the authorities should come for him.
As a young woman, Karrie studied to be an English teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. She then returned to South Africa, where she taught for two years, before moving to Boston to pursue a master’s degree in educational administration, planning and social policy at Harvard. Upon graduating, she took a position at Milton Academy, an independent school in Boston. She enjoyed her time there but chose to relocate to Toronto, where she had an aunt. For over three decades, she has worked at Branksome Hall, first as an English teacher, then as an administrator, and now in her current role as deputy principal.
In 1985, Karrie married Michael Weinstock, a native Torontonian, whose family embraced her as one of their own. Both Karrie and Michael had been married previously and through her marriage to Michael, she inherited three beautiful stepdaughters. Karrie and Michael had a child of their own, a son who shares his mother’s love of South Africa, visiting the country each year.
Recognizing her great fortune in life, Karrie gives back through her volunteer work with the Stephen Leacock Foundation, which, among other initiatives, supports low-fee independent schools in South Africa that are connected to independent and public schools in Canada so as to form a unique Triangle of Hope.
Jamestown (South Africa)
Johannesburg (South Africa)
00:00 Karrie outlines her immediate family. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
01:28 Karrie discusses her family history. Her maternal grandfather was born in 1891 in Lithuania. He came to South Africa in 1914 to escape the military. Her maternal grandmother was born in 1903 in Lithuania. Her paternal grandfather was born in 1888 in Poland. Her paternal grandmother, whose parents came from Lithuania, was born in London in 1893.
03:54 Karrie discusses her father's career as a civil rights lawyer. She discusses her father's role as a founding member of the Liberal Party in South Africa.
06:35 Karrie discusses the impact her father's political activism had on her family. She offers examples to illustrate the unique situation in her home while growing up (e.g. political meetings, fear of her father's imminent arrest, visits from political prisoners).
08:26 Karrie offers her impressions of the position taken by the greater Jewish community in South Africa.
09:27 Karrie explains why she and her siblings attended independent schools.
11:00 Karrie discusses her family's involvement in the Jewish community and Jewish practice.
13:15 Karrie discusses how her parents stressed the importance of education and viewed education as a means of leaving South Africa. She discusses the education paths of her siblings as well as her own. Karrie received her teaching qualifications at Cambridge and earned a master's degree in administration planning and social policy at Harvard.
15:34 Karrie lives in Canada. Her sister lives in London. Her brother opted to return to South Africa.
16:38 Karrie relates an anecdote that compares her current situation of seeing her mother once a year with black workers in South Africa who saw their children once a year.
17:48 Karrie explains that both her sister and brother were unable to return to South Africa for a period of time. In her sister's case it was due to her political activity; in her brother's case, it was due to his refusal to serve in the military.
18:55 Karrie discusses her "charmed" life growing up.
20:54 Karrie discusses her teaching qualifications and first teaching position at an independent school for mixed-race students.
00:56 Karrie discusses her experience at Harvard. Specifically, she mentions a friendship.
06:09 Karrie explains why her parents preferred that she not return to South Africa.
07:09 Karrie relates the story of finding a job at Milton Academy in Boston following graduation.
00:00 Karrie explains how she decided to move to Toronto.
03:45 Karrie explains how she became engaged and married to Clive Lovett in 1979. She explains the factors that contributed to the end of their four-year marriage.
05:16 Karrie discusses her teaching and administrative responsibilities at Branksome Hall.
12:59 Karrie describes meeting and marrying Michael Weinstock. Michael has three children from a previous marriage. Karrie and Michael have one son together.
15:20 Karrie explains how Peter Oliver, a prominent South African-born Toronto philanthropist and businessman, arranged to fund and build an independent school, the Get-Ahead Project School in rural South Africa. She explains her involvement with the project and the connection with Branksome Hall, Rose Avenue Public School, a high-needs school in Toronto, and the Get-Ahead Project School in South Africa.
00:00 Karrie continues to describe the inter-school program that has been set up for students at Branksome Hall, a school in Jamestown; Toronto, and the Get-Ahead school.
02:26 Karrie discusses her role on the board of the Leacock Foundation and her opportunity to further the inter-school program. She cites an example of how they contributed to the Get-Ahead school.
04:17 Karrie reminisces about times when she felt Canadian.