Our STEAM Team

Every Challenge Island kid knows that the secret to success is having a STEAM team with just the right combination of strengths and passions!

Sharon Duke Estroff M.A.T.

Challenge Island Founder and CEO
Sharon is founder and creator of the Challenge Island® program, She is an award-winning elementary school teacher with two decades of experience in Atlanta public and private schools. Voted best teacher in Atlanta by a major Atlanta newspaper, Sharon created Challenge Island in her 2nd grade classroom before launching it as her own business. She sold her first Challenge Island franchise in 2013 and has been growing the company by leaps and bounds ever since. Sharon is also a Penguin/Random House parenting author and educational journalist for numerous publications including Scholastic Parent and Child, Parents, Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping Magazines. She is co-author of the Challenge Island children’s book series. Sharon received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emory University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, four children and three miniature goldendoodles.
A Note of Gratitude

“As a lifelong educator, seeing the smiles on children’s faces across the country and the world as they take part in Challenge Island programming has been the greatest gift and privilege of my career. I am so grateful to the thousands of schools and organizations that embrace Challenge Island for their students and communities - and, of course, to the STEAMtastic Challenge Island franchise owners who make the magic happen every day through their passion, hard work, and unwavering dedication to our core mission of bettering the lives of the children for today and tomorrow.”

- Sharon Duke Estroff

Robin Bergeron

Chief of Development

Robin is a veteran elementary school teacher and Challenge Island owner extraordinaire. As Chief of Development, she is the face behind the remarkable growth of Challenge Island and the reason we have the most fabulous franchisees in the world!

Leslie Thibodaux

Chief of Operational Support

Leslie is a veteran gifted and talented teacher and rock star Challenge Island owner. As our ever calm Chief of Operational Support, she sets up our owners for ongoing success as they navigate the thrill and excitement of Challenge Island ownership.

Julie Kleber-Sokel

Chief Financial Officer

Julie is an accountant extraordinaire and the math mind of our STEAM Team. As Chief Financial Officer, she oversees all things financial for Challenge Island Global while providing our owners with her fiscal wisdom as they grow their local Challenge Islands!

Elliott Strauss

Artistic Design Director

Elliott (aka our own Challenge Island DaVinci) earned his BFA at the University of Georgia and is a UI/UX graphic designer. He is an expert at capturing all the colors and magic of Challenge Island through digital and graphic mediums and an avid fan of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Jonathan Ober


Jonathan is a master coder and website developer and an adjunct professor at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. He helps ensure the security, functionality, and design of the Challenge Island website while empowering our franchisees to rock their online presence in their local markets!

The Challenge Island Story

From a single 2nd grade classroom in Atlanta to tens of thousands of classrooms in the USA and internationally to the pages of its own book series, the Challenge Island story is one fueled by a teacher with big dreams, fabulous franchisees filled with passion and purpose – and millions of amazing Challenge Island kids.