Challenge is such an overworked word in educational circles - most times it's used as a synonym for 'problem': as in 'she's a challenging student' or 'we will be facing a few challenges next year' or ' implementing vertical deaning in such a short time will certainly be a challenge'.
It came into vogue to eliminate the negative connotations with 'problem', but as a weasel word it has just shifted the 'challenge' sideways - it also has negativity attached to it.
I think we need to reclaim the word and use it in a different, more positive way.
After all, aren't we talking about daring ourselves to embrace something different or difficult?
Is there even a single word for that?
How about 'opportunity'? As in 'she's a teaching opportunity' or 'we will have some real opportunities for improving learning next year' or 'implementing vertical deaning in such a short time will certainly be a great opportunity'.
For challenges read opportunities - they bring out our best when they:
[I got those four from Dan Rockwell's Leadership Freak blog - I think they're perfect for that last vertical deaning thing, don't you?]
An opportunity provides a more straight forward pathway to innovation and I'm big on pathways and innovations.