Sharon Duke Estroff used her education roots to develop a successful franchise, Challenge Island. The former teacher gave us some insight into her journey from the classroom to entrepreneurial success – and how she is sharing that dream with franchise owners. By Rochelle Miller
STEAM Education Leads to Challenge Island
Sharon Duke Estroff used her education roots to develop a successful franchise, Challenge Island. The former teacher gave us some insight into her journey from the classroom to entrepreneurial success – and how she is sharing that dream with franchise owners.
What is “STEAM,” and why is the “A” so important?
STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. Art refers not only to fine arts like painting and drawing, but also includes literature, music, drama and creativity in a broad sense. While STEM is a primarily left-brain-based discipline – logical, mathematical and systematic – the arts engages the right brain’s creativity and imagination. What makes STEAM education so essential is that it is not a single subject but a mindset. It’s an approach that prepares kids to become the innovators, educators, researchers and leaders who can solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and our world now and in the future.
How did your background as a teacher lead to your success in business?
Seventeen years ago, I was at the height of my ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde’ phase. By day, I was an award-winning second-grade teacher with a classroom full of thriving students whose favorite activity was the Challenge Island program I created. By night, I was a stressed-out mom who could barely muster enough energy to help my own kids with homework. Then, I began offering Challenge Island as an enrichment program in nearby schools. Before long, I had a profitable home-based business I could run around my family’s busy schedule. I had a hunch this business model would work for other parents and teachers. That hunch was right! Today, Challenge Island is one of the fastest-growing educational franchises in the world.
Is an education background required to become a Challenge Island franchisee?
Absolutely not! At least half of our owners come from other professional backgrounds. We have marketing executives, lawyers and Wall Street bankers. Challenge Island offers a comprehensive business model that entails a broad skill set. We are here to help you acquire and fine-tune that skill set.
What qualities makes a franchisee successful?
Challenge Island franchisees are visionary and passionate. They want to make a difference as well as an income. They are skilled in effectively communicating the power of this program. They are engaging, dynamic and comfortable being the face of the business within the community. They love being part of our incredible owners’ tribe – a collaborative family of like-minded franchise owners who have one another’s backs and join our corporate tribe in changing children’s lives and the future of our communities through the Challenge Island program. It began 17 years ago in my second-grade classroom and has grown into something truly beautiful.
For more information regarding franchising opportunities with Challenge Island, visit franchise.challenge-island.com or call 404-692-3103.
– Rochelle Miller