Meet The Team Behind Challenge Island

Mike & Michelle Peterson


Mike & Michelle are the owners of the Challenge Island – Oakland County East program, serving southeastern Michigan and also students from around the country virtually.

Mike is an engineer by training, with degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and business from Iowa State and MIT.  Mike worked for 30 years as an engineer and manager for General Motors before retiring in 2018, and his focus has now shifted to teaching through Challenge Island and also as a lecturer at Oakland University.  Michelle studied industrial design at Arizona State University, and has worked in design positions with Hughes Aircraft, Honeywell, Fosella & Associates and General Motors, as well as in a variety of positions with local businesses and non-profits to provide graphic design and business support.  Both Mike and Michelle are active in their community, and have helped local students grow their potential through volunteering with Cub & Boy Scouts, FIRST Robotics, Math Pentathlon, Science Olympiad and other organizations.  They have been married for 26 years, and have three children who followed in their STEAM footsteps as engineers in Michigan and California.



Meet The Team Behind Challenge Island

Sharon Duke Estroff M.A.T.

Founder & 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. She started Challenge Island in her second grade classroom and began running it as an enrichment business using the current model in 2003. It has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.

Sharon is a nationally recognized parenting and education expert and a freelance writer for numerous national publications including Scholastic Parent and Child, Parents, Woman’s Day and Good Housekeeping magazines. She is the author of the popular parenting book, Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah? (Random House) and co-author of the upcoming Challenge Island book series that turns the Challenge Island curriculum into an exciting and educational story. She is sought-after speaker who has presented to scores of communities nationwide about the trials and tribulations of raising kids in the digital age.
Sharon received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Emory University where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude.

She continues to run her local Challenge Island business in Atlanta, Georgia where she lives with her husband and four children.