CEO and Principal of Challenge Charter School in Glendale
Wendy Miller is the CEO and Principal of Challenge Charter School in Glendale. Challenge has been serving its community with approximately 500 elementary students since 1996. Founded by Wendy’s parents, Greg and Pam Miller, Challenge was part of the nation’s first bond pool for charter school facility financing opening doors for others that have followed. As an early leader in the industry, this was just one of the groundbreaking changes that helped empower others as the movement has grown. Rather than expand their reach with more schools, the Millers have used the school’s success to position them for advocacy to help all children have access to a quality education.
The school was founded to put kids first in all decision making, empower teachers, and to create a love for learning embedded in higher critical thinking skills with a hands-on and engaging curriculum rich in content, science, and history. The team developed a “failure is not an option” approach which was needed for survival in the early years. Many of those early team members remain a part of the mission now and this passion and dedication led to Challenge being named one of the first US Department of Education National Blue Ribbon charter schools in the country. Challenge has been recognized by multiple other state and national organizations for educational leadership, academic growth of all learners, citizenship, and sound business practices that put more resources in the classroom.
Wendy’s undergraduate studies were in Political Science and Public Administration at Northern Arizona University, and she later received her MBA from WP Carey at Arizona State. The exponential opportunity that exists when the right minds in business and education intersect and share resources is a driving force in Wendy’s passion as she carries the family legacy forward. As is needed in all small schools, she has worn almost every hat in the organization starting her journey serving families at the front desk. Pam is still active as the Board’s President and school’s Creative Programs Director and sadly the state lost a great educational leader with Greg’s passing in 2017. The school now has several second-generation students attending and alumni that have returned as faculty to help shape the future.