Karen Kinney Norton, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, graduated from Kansas State University with an education degree. Moving to Wichita, Kansas, she taught for five years. She was personally selected by Jean Garvey to help create a new school. She had no way of knowing that she was about to embark upon the journey of a lifetime. After twenty-six years at The Independent School, she retired in 2006, and still resides in Wichita with her husband, Don.

In 1980, Jean Garvey, an already busy mother of six children, decided to do what one person could do to improve education in Wichita, Kansas: she started a school. Her vision, where high functioning teachers were entrepreneurial, nurturing, and caring; where parents were involved and empowered; and where the leadership set a priority on excellence, communication, and accessibility, became The Independent School. With the help of many excellent and dedicated administrators, teachers, parents, and friends, her little school that started with eight students grew to enroll 780 enthusiastic students by 2006. This is the story of that little school.**

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