Our Mission

Diminish the impact of learning disorders in the lives of individuals.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

At ARK Institute of Learning, we believe this courage to continue comes from knowing that you have necessary skills to carry on in the face of adversity. People with learning challenges can be frustrated because they lack these skills that sometimes come naturally to other people.

ARK Institute of Learning is here to provide students with customized toolkits for achieving learning success in and out of the classroom.

We are not tutors. We are not here to teach students how to memorize rote facts. We are not here to teach students how to conform to the current standards issued by their school.

We are here to breakdown the causes of learning frustration. We are here to evaluate, diagnose, and provide a lifetime of skills for overcoming learning challenges.

ARK Institute of Learning is located at
1916 S. Washington St., Tacoma, WA 98405

Our Staff

Individuals with learning difficulties can learn; they just learn differently. ARK unlocks learning difficulties with a two-step process. Individualized diagnostic evaluation followed up with comprehensive one-on-one instruction with ARK Educational Therapists and Instructional Specialists.

Marni Graveline
School Psychologist
Educational Therapist

Marni Graveline, M.A., is a school psychologist with 20 years experience in public education. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in psychology with specialization in school psychology and counseling. She earned her National Credential in School Psychology (NCSP). Marni’s desire to help struggling learners has fueled her passion for working in the education field. Marni is married with two daughters, two dogs, and two guinea pigs. She is involved with the Tacoma City Ballet as a character dancer in ballet productions. She also enjoys reading, camping, and watching movies with her family.

Sheri Hamlow
Lead Educational Therapist

Sheri is an Applied Behavior Analyst. She is a co-instructor of the ARK Training Program so her experience and education are a great resource for our entire team. Opening the doors of learning is what inspires her work.

Outside of work, this die-hard Washington State Cougar loves to cook.

Caroline Swinehart
Instructional Specialist
Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher

In her work at ARK, Caroline prioritizes in-depth thinking and learning. She is recognized as a Structured Literacy Classroom Teacher by the International Dyslexia Association’s Center for Effective Reading Instruction, and she relentlessly studies the ingredients for successful educational interventions. Caroline has a BA degree in Philosophy and a BS degree in math, likes biking to work, and is curious about just about everything.

Dianne Frothingham
Instructional Specialist

Along Dianne’s journey to ARK, she spent many years as part of an educational community. She was certified as a teaching parent by the Better Baby Institute, a Montessori directress by the American Montessori Association, and she taught in the community school. Assisting and teaching people – babies to elders – has enlivened and educated her, and she is grateful to be part of the ARK family now.


April Reid
Instructional Specialist

April Reid, Ed.D is an innovative educator with experience in higher education. She has a Ed.D. in education from Oregon State University. She has counseled, advised, hosted, and mentored students from many different backgrounds. April conducted extensive research in the area of transformational learning and presented her findings at an international conference. Other accomplishments include leading initiatives on student success and retention, designing curriculum, and creating a web-based online tutorial. For fun, April is currently engaged in building an art studio for teaching process painting – her favorite form of transformational learning.

Cheryl Ann Strange
Instructional Specialist

Cheryl Ann uses her degree in Anthropology, experience in second language acquisition, and diverse background in education to help learners build skills and confidence. She helps learners tap into their wonder and removes barriers to rigorous investigation and innovative solutions to all kinds of problems and challenges.

Micki Parker
Instructional Specialist

Michele (Micki) is a Washington State University graduate with B.A. degrees in Elementary Education and Home Economics with an emphasis in Child and Family Studies. Micki has enjoyed working with young children in a variety of roles: first grade teacher, first grade teaching assistant, Title 1 paraeducator, assistant preschool teacher, cooperative preschool parent volunteer, and Sunday school and vacation Bible school volunteer. She loves helping children become readers and eager to learn more. Micki and her husband have three adult children and two grandsons. She enjoys photography and exploring Photoshop to stylize her photos.

Nick Mobus
Educational Therapist

Nick earned a B.S. degree in Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Organic Chemistry. He has spent several years working as a private math and science tutor in the greater Tacoma area. He has a tremendous amount of experience helping students understand higher levels of math and science. In his free time, he enjoys occasionally indulging in devious strategizing while playing board games.


Madeline Pugh
Accounts Administrator

Madeline has been with ARK Institute of Learning since 2016. She currently works remotely as a part of our team. Madeline has her associate’s degree from Clark College and earned a certification in QuickBooks. She has a passion for numbers and financials and loves working in the education industry. Outside of work, she has four beautiful children and enjoys hiking, baking, and loving on her family!

Lisa Ernst
Administrative Assistant

Lisa joined the ARK Institute of Learning team in 2019. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Pacific Lutheran University and a certificate in Fundraising Management for University of Washington Tacoma. She has worked as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and served as a paralegal for over six years. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, baking, and photography.

Dr. Sarah Heavin
Clinical Psychologist

Sarah Heavin is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Washington who provides forensic and clinical assessment services for children and adults. Dr. Heavin received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Utah Clinical Child and Family Program. She completed a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington specializing in juvenile criminal forensic psychology. Dr. Heavin is currently visiting faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Puget Sound. Dr. Heavin has provided clinical consultation and supervision to ARK staff since 2016.

Staff Qualifications

Educational Therapists and Instructional Specialists are professionals who design and implement strategic, customized instruction based on testing data. Every ARK Educational Therapist and Instructional Specialist has a college degree and has completed an extensive in-house training program. This program trains each staff member to work with students who experience a wide range of learning difficulties. ARK Educational Therapists and Instructional Specialists master the most effective methods for teaching language, reading, writing and spatial reasoning. Educational Therapists also have the necessary skills for administering educational evaluations, analyzing assessment data, and writing comprehensive educational assessment reports.

Our History

Four decades of unlocking learning.

Carol Stockdale founded ARK (Applied Research Knowledge) Institute of Learning in 1968. Dr. Stockdale wanted to know more about learning disorders and began researching everything she could find on the subject. Her research led her to found Another Door to Learning in 1980. This was the Puget Sound’s first clinic devoted to treating learning disorders. The clinic was a non-profit venture funded through fees, grants and donations. Therapist training was done in house and the clinic also provided continuing education for many teachers in the community.

After 16 years serving children and adults with learning disorders, Carol retired. At that same time several internal changes to the organization finally led to the dissolution of Another Door To Learning. Unfortunately, this meant that the progress, research, instructional methods and tools developed during that time were suddenly not available.

Unhappy with the thought of these resources being lost Carol Stockdale, with the help of her husband Ron Stockdale, established ARK Institute of Learning in 1996. The primary goal was to preserve and carry forward the instructional methods, tools and knowledge acquired through Another Door to Learning.

ARK Institute of Learning remains committed to improving the lives of those with learning disorders by constantly expanding its understanding of research in this field. Additionally, the Stockdales remain an integral part of this organization, as members of the Board of Directors.

The tools, knowledge and instructional methods keep expanding and ARK Institute of Learning’s dedication to improving the lives of students with learning disorders remains constant.

Board Members

  • Julie Neff Lippman, Board Chair
    University of Puget Sound – Retired
  • David Artis
    Pharmaceuticals – Retired
  • Stephanie Baerg
  • E. Glenn Everitt, Jr.
  • Chris Gavin
    School Principal
  • Barbara Lidikay
    Private School Administrator – Retired
  • Carol Ludwig
    Manager of Training & Development – Retired

Board Members

  • Rich McEntee
    Attorney-McEntee Law office
  • Gary Methner
    Businessman – Retired
  • Brian Randall
    Financial Consultant
  • Mary Gallagher Senecal
    Community Leader
  • Carol Stockdale, Ed.D.
    Educator – Clinician
  • Joy Stohr
  • Ron Waddell
    Bargreen Ellingson Executive