About Us

Meet our VIPs.

Rainbow is unique in that we are still managed by the leader who founded the company many years ago, we have remained true to the goals and principles we established for our company in the beginning, and our organization is supported and managed by loyal and dedicated individuals, many of whom have been with our companies for ten, twenty, or thirty years. These are intangibles that often make the difference between a project that runs smoothly and pleasantly, resulting in a winning product in the end, and one that flows from one disaster to the next.

  • Judi Coffey

    Judi Coffey

    Chief Executive Officer

    As co-founder and principal of Rainbow Educational Concepts, Rainbow Creative Concepts, and Robert-Leslie Publishing, Judi Coffey has led top creative, authorship, and instructional design teams for more than 30 years. As a master educator and recognized business leader, Judi’s vision has always been to imagine, create, and improve educational products to make them inspiring, successful, and accessible for all children. She sees Rainbow’s larger role as an opportunity to transform content and thus education for future generations. She knows that collaboration through strategic partnerships is the most effective way to reach these goals. Judi sets the vision, strategy, values, and direction for her companies and builds the partnerships that will contribute to and implement this mission.


  • Brian Smith

    President and Chief Operating Officer

    A proven leader in developing educational materials in all subject areas across all grade levels, Brian Smith oversees all operations and administrative functions for Rainbow. Brian functions as the key liaison between editorial, design, production, technology, and manufacturing personnel on the creation of basal and supplemental products. He manages both in-house and freelance staff; maintains budgets, schedules, and contracts; and coordinates strategic planning with sales and marketing. Brian has 20 years experience supervising the creation of instructional materials for standards-based adoptions. He works closely with Rainbow’s client-partners on the development of creative workflow solutions for print, digital, and hybrid components. Brian joined Rainbow in 1995. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Mass Communication.


  • Janet Ottenweller

    Editorial Director

    With 16 years of educational publishing experience, Janet is an innovative manager and a skilled editor with experience overseeing the content development of both print and digital products. Janet has worked extensively on national and state-specific Pre-K to high school programs in the content areas of ELA, ELD, fine arts, mathematics, social studies, and technology. She has experience creating ELA programs from the ground up as well as revising existing ELA programs to meet current educational practices and state requirements. Janet has also led teams of translators and editors in the development of Spanish adaptations of national and state-adopted K–6 ELA and mathematics programs. Prior to joining Rainbow as Editorial Director in 2018, Janet held senior-level positions at McGraw-Hill Education, Highlights for Children/Zaner-Bloser, and Mondo Publishing. She also taught English composition at the university level. Janet holds a BA in Spanish and an MA in English Literature from the University of Akron.


  • Mark Ondrla

    Mark Ondrla

    Director of Assessment

    Mark Ondrla has 13 years of experience in educational publishing developing quality materials for the K–12 and Adult Education markets. He has extensive experience in the areas of assessment and ELA instruction. Mark is adept with managing teams of internal and freelance writers and editors to help create high quality, standards-based instruction that meets the guidelines and needs of Rainbow’s client-partners. As Director of Assessment for Rainbow, Mark manages CCSS aligned assessment projects for many clients, including Riverside, Scholastic, and AIR. Prior to coming to Rainbow, Mark worked at McGraw-Hill Education where he developed print and digital materials for ELA instruction and assessment. He has a BA in English from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


  • Elizabeth Gilbert

    Senior Editor

    With over 20 years in educational publishing in roles ranging from freelance writer/editor to in-house project lead, Elizabeth brings knowledge and experience from multiple perspectives. She has helped conceptualize, prototype, and develop new products and major revisions for the elementary- and middle-grade markets mainly in the areas of ELA and ELD.

    Before joining Rainbow in 2021, Elizabeth held editorial positions at Pearson/Scott Foresman and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and freelanced for 10 years. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois and an MS in Written Communication from National-Louis University.

  • Matt Lemmons

    Matt Lemmons

    Creative Director

    Matt Lemmons has been working in the educational publishing industry for more than 25 years as a graphic designer and illustrator. He has developed the design of educational programs in a variety of subject areas across all grade levels. He is proficient with the prototyping and design of leveled readers and corresponding teacher materials. Matt manages in-house illustration, page design and layout, and image tracking as well as coordinating with freelance art and design staff. He has a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Arkansas State University, and has pursued continuing education in page design, proofreading, and image editing. Matt became a part of the Rainbow team in 1987.


  • Sherry Tuseth

    Sherry Tuseth

    Editor and Image Manager

    Sherry Tuseth has worked in educational publishing for nearly 25 years. She is experienced in concept development, writing, editing, and photo management. Areas of expertise include elementary math and science; elementary and middle school social studies; and reading/language arts. Her specialties also include writing fiction and non-fiction leveled readers. At Rainbow, Sherry has served as Special Projects Coordinator and has been a creative force in helping develop new projects and publications. Prior to working at Rainbow, Sherry worked as a television producer and university instructor. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Mass Communication with a secondary emphasis in Education from Arkansas State University.


  • Stacey Fauth

    Project Coordinator

    Stacey Fauth started with Rainbow in 2003 as an administrative assistant. Her initial responsibilities included clerical and editorial support tasks such as conducting market research, correlating content to state standards, proofreading, and copy editing. In her new role as Project Coordinator, Stacey functions as the main liaison between Rainbow’s project managers and our expansive team of freelance talent. Stacey has a Bachelor’s degree in marketing with an emphasis in management from Missouri State University.


  • Christy Rothgery

    Christy Rothgery

    Office Manager

    Christy Rothgery has been with Rainbow for nearly 30 years. Initially her role included clerical work, data entry, copyediting, and page layout. As Rainbow grew, office management duties became the focus of her work. Christy is now largely involved with company record keeping, payroll, taxes, purchasing decisions, and various other responsibilities associated with the daily demands of a busy and productive office. Christy has a Master’s of Rehabilitation Counseling.


What our fans say about Rainbow

  • “I want to thank you, Judi, for creating a company that is so lovely to work for. Not once did I ever have a complaint or concern regarding Rainbow. Thank you for having such high standards of excellence. . . .”

    Cynthia L. Sleeth, freelance writer
  • “. . . I truly feel that Rainbow is extremely special in the way all members of the staff work together so cohesively and in such a willing manner.”

    Jan Goldberg, freelance editor
  • “. . . It has been a true privilege to work with your company. The care given to organizing and supporting the projects is outstanding.”

    Joyce McGreevy, trade book author
  • “I am enjoying the writing assignment and working with the Rainbow staff . . . Brian sets such a positive tone and is a very effective manager. Thanks for contacting me for this project.”

    Diane Altman, freelance writer
  • “For me the difference has always been the people. I notice the in-house Rainbow staff have a good attitude. They stay positive with clients and freelancers and do not let stress run the show.”

    freelancer and long-time Rainbow contributor
  • “. . . Bottom line: Rainbow has the people who know how to get the job done, and they have the resources to do it!”

    freelancer and long-time Rainbow contributor
  • “. . . I find the staff at Rainbow incredibly sharp, congenial, and effective in how they work.”

    freelancer and long-time Rainbow contributor