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Nikki Cook graduated Gardner in 2005.

Nikki transferred to Gardner from a parochial school during her sixth-grade year. She was doing well in school, and yet, her old school had a “very black-and-white kind of learning that was based purely on reading, writing, and arithmetic.

I immediately felt right at home in Tahoma. For the first time in my life, I was being asked what I thought of my academics and being challenged to ask the big questions. For so long, I had been primarily focused and consumed by grades — and doing what I thought the teachers wanted in order to get the grade that I desired. This concept no longer existed at Gardner, and suddenly I was in control of my own learning. I was taught to learn by understanding my own unique learning style and identify my intelligences in a way that enabled me to exceed what I originally thought was my learning potential. I learned how to learn, which I truly believed has changed my life, not only as an intellectual, but as a social being.


Scott Peters and Tisha Carter had their two daughters at The Gardner School. Tisha writes,

“We love Gardner! We love how the community has helped support us in raising two little human beings – not just two more ‘students to educate.’ Any school can teach the skills. Gardner teaches kids how to use these skills in their daily life and in setting goals for the future. Our family is better having been a part of Gardner, and we are grateful for the impact it has had in our lives.”

Scott writes,

When someone asks me why we send our kids to Gardner, I always say it’s the focus that Gardner puts on critical thinking skills. The curriculum and culture here are unique in the way that children are challenged to solve problems – whether on their own or as part of a collaboration. The thematic studies allow our students to ‘see the whole chess board’ and the interrelated nature of the world around them.

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