Independent inspires

Written by Sara Garrison

The Independent School is preparing for the upcoming school year with the hire of a new head of school to lead Independent into the future, along with the opening of an Early Learning Center.

New administration

Independent head of school, Chris English, comes to Wichita from the Barstow School in Kansas City, Missouri. Independent has also added two additional individuals to their administrative team: Brian Hutton as head of the Upper School and Julie Barrett as head of the Middle School.

“It is the start of a new era for the Independent School,” explains English. “We are focusing on our roots and the foundational principles. At Independent, we strive to provide an affordable private education, with flexible teaching practices that focus on helping students learn. We offer a challenging and exciting college-preparatory curriculum, all in a learning environment where our students receive encouragement and love.”

The Independent School was founded in 1980 when founder Jean Garvey saw a need for a private school in Wichita that would provide a cost-effective, college-preparatory education that emphasizes a life-long love of learning. Today, the school has 450 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Children should feel joy while learning. At Independent, our goal is to build a learning foundation for life.” — Chris English, head of school, The Independent School

The Independent School has small class sizes and a curriculum that emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurship, volunteering and making a difference in the community. Independent is dedicated to helping children learn in the best way that fits their needs.

“At Independent, we believe all students learn differently and they should be treated as individuals when they learn. This makes the relationship between a teacher and the learner essential,” says English. “We value the way students learn, so we offer flexible teaching practices in an exciting environment.”

Early Learning Center

In January 2019, The Independent School opened its Early Learning Center to expand its educational reach to children six weeks to four years of age. The Early Learning Center is staffed with all lead teachers and small class sizes. Hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday with two, three or five-day options.

“At the Early Learning Center, we teach our educational curriculum through exploration and play,” says English. “The majority of our learning materials rely on open-ended toys used to foster creativity. We also have a strong focus on parent communication, using an app to communicate with the parents throughout the day.”

Why Independent?

“I ask parents if their children come home from school happy and excited or are they stressed and buckled with anxiety,” says English. “Children should feel joy while learning. At Independent, our goal is to build a learning foundation for life. We want our student’s education journey to continue into adulthood. Our goal is to create a lifelong learner to give our students the confidence and ability to step into any context, make authentic human connections, advance their goals and achieve their aspirations throughout their lives.”

To learn more about The Independent School and their Early Learning Center, schedule a private tour by emailing

The Independent School
8317 E. Douglas Ave.
Wichita, KS 67207

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