Our Story

We Create Awesome Learning Experiences

Helping children develop a love of reading and learning, no matter their ability level, is at the heart of what we do at Capstone. Our passion for creating inspired learning has made us the most trusted publisher of children’s books and digital solutions for libraries, classrooms, and consumers for 25 years. Capstone’s content comes in a variety of print and digital formats including board books, picture books, interactive books, apps, audio and databases. Whether print, online, or new, yet-to-be-discovered formats, Capstone provides children and young adults with the content they love.

View/Download the Community Giving Report for 2016 as a PDF


    Not only does Capstone rank Number One among students preK through high school, but we're also the first choice among their librarians. Whether recognizing colors and shapes through pictures, learning history through interactive chapter books or encountering mystery and adventure through safe graphic novels, kids (and educators) choose Capstone because we connect. Our collection of more than 11,000 titles ensures there is the perfect book for every reader.

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    Capstone Classroom offers solutions for grades PreK-10 educators. Among our extensive collection of more than 6,000 nonfiction and fiction titles we include teacher support materials. Our core offerings include leveled reader programs, interactive ebooks, audiobooks, and customized curriculum collections to support Common Core, STEM, and more.

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    Our trade program features a collection of carefully selected titles across a range of topics, formats, and interest levels to build a passion for reading. From board and picture books, to innovative fiction and nonfiction, drawing and how-to, and graphic novels, Capstone's list includes an array of children's books and ebooks from beloved authors.

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    U.K. & International Markets


    Raintree has a strong reputation with librarians and teachers, publishing the best nonfiction with curriculum support since the mid-1990s. Raintree's combination of high quality content and accessible reading levels established it as a favorite among educators and readers. By combining the talents of authors, curriculum experts, editors, and designers, Raintree ensure that topics, text, and graphics are always 'just right.' Raintree titles are guaranteed to captivate young readers at every age, stage, and ability.

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    Inspired by the inquisitive nature of the fox, Curious Fox books are designed to spark the curiosity of young minds, and to encourage readers to seek out more great books as their love of reading grows. Launched in February 2013, our publishing program is aimed at young readers of all ages with high-quality print and digital titles to help foster a love of reading.

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    An Enterprising History is Our Legacy of Success

    At Capstone, our passion for children’s learning defines the momentum behind each book and digital product we create. We deliver hardworking content in formats that kids love. This enterprising quality springs from an entrepreneurial tradition that’s nearly 125 years old.

    Scroll down to view a visual history of The Capstone Bag, a customer favorite.


    Capstone turns 25 years young. Happy Birthday Capstone!


    Capstone’s digital products—myON, PebbleGo and Capstone Interactive—reach 55 million visits in 2015. myON tops 6 million students


    Engage Literacy, a guided reading program, is acquired from Australian publisher Hinkler. Expands Capstone’s offering in the reading market


    Capstone acquires professional development publisher Maupin House and continues to publish professional development titles for educators


    Capstone entered licensing agreement with DC Entertainment to publish reinforced library hard covers and paper-over-board editions of DC Comics

    Capstone launched new mobile capabilities for myON®™ reader

    The Capstone Literacy Center is established to boost the reading skills of struggling readers in the Mankato community

    myON®™ reader topped 1 million students reading

    Capstone Interactive Library™ interactive eBook program expanded to include greater title selection and improved technologies


    Capstone celebrated its 20th anniversary in publishing

    Capstone launched myON®™ reader, the largest online library of interactive ebooks

    Capstone entered licensing agreement with Tony Hawk Inc. to publish new sci-fi, action-adventure series, Tony Hawk's 900 Revoltion, for kids

    Capstone entered licensing agreement with the Smithsonian Institution

    PebbleGo™ Biographies unveiled as the newest addition to the PebbleGo database collection

    Annual nation-wide survey conducted by Renaissance Learning recognized Capstone as the number-one brand for struggling readers for the third year in a row

    Coughlan Companies, Inc., established affiliate Jordan Sands, LLC, an industrial sand mining and processing operation


    Educational software company Portage Interactive LLC is acquired, expanding Capstone’s products and solutions

    CapstonePub.com is re-launched to integrate all imprint’s titles and formats into one e-commerce site

    Capstone released first interactive book for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iTouch platforms and new game for Nintendo DSi

    PebbleGo™ Earth and Space unveiled as the newest addition to the PebbleGo database collection

    Capstone entered licensing agreement with DC Comics to publish DC SUPER-PETS, a new chapter book series about the pets of DC Comics’ iconic characters

    Books for Africa received 300,000 books in donation, valued at more than $5 million — the largest single book donation in Capstone’s history


    Capstone entered licensing agreement with DC Comics to publish DC SUPER HEROES, a new chapter book series based around DC Comics’ iconic characters

    PebbleGo™ debuted as the first interactive animal database designed for emergent readers and researchers, grades K-2

    Capstone Digital division is launched with interactive and online media formats to excite and engage learners

    Capstone entered licensing agreement with Sports Illustrated KIDS to publish a new line of high-interest nonfiction and fiction sports stories

    Capstone Rewards, a free, customer rewards program, is established

    Free educational website for kids, CapstoneKids.com, is re-launched


    Heinemann Global Library is acquired, expanding Capstone’s market globally

    Raintree is established in the U.K.

    CollectionWiz™, the first online collection analysis and management tool created by a publisher, is launched


    Capstone Publishers (now Capstone) is established to unify the publishing companies with shared services

    Capstone Interactive Library™ with digital books online is launched


    Stone Arch Books, the first exclusively safe graphic novel publisher, and the Graphic Library brand, first nonfiction graphic novels series, are established


    The Pebble Plus® brand is launched to provide larger nonfiction books for beginning readers, grades preK-2


    FactHound.com®, the first publisher-provided, internet-based resource provider for elementary students is launched


    Red Brick Learning is launched, partnering with educators to help all students, from struggling to fluent readers, achieve reading success in the classroom


    Picture Window Books, the first solely illustrated nonfiction and fiction series publisher, is launched


    Compass Point Books, Capstone’s second imprint, is established


    The Pebble brand® becomes the first nonfiction research series for emergent readers (grades preK-2) in the market


    Capstone Press publishes its first books, 48 titles


    Capstone Press is acquired and rapidly expands, setting the pace for the Coughlan entry into the publishing industry

    The Capstone Bag

    The Capstone bag was created in 2011 to share our fun characters and content with the world — and, of course, to carry books.

    The love for the bag has exceeded our greatest expectations. It is consistently the most requested item at every event we attend.

    Here is a visual timeline of all of our bags.


    Board of Directors

    Robert J. Coughlan

    Owner and Principal, Coughlan Companies, Inc. Board Member: 1992

    Bob, with his brother Jim, are the fourth-generation of Coughlans leading the diversified Coughlan Companies, Inc. As the family-owned company expanded with stone, banking, land development holdings and publishing, it developed centralized management and administrative services to serve its two operating companies: Capstone and Jordan Sands. Before Bob’s tenure on the Board, he served in a variety of executive leadership positions in the manufacturing and publishing industries. Bob enjoys being involved in CEO peer to peer roundtables. He graduated from Gonzaga University, Spokane, with a B.A. in History.

    James P. Coughlan

    Owner and Principal, Coughlan Companies, Inc. Board Member: 1992

    In 1983, Jim and his brother Bob became the fourth-generation owners of the Coughlan Stone Quarry. Today, Coughlan Companies, Inc. is comprised of Capstone and Jordan Sands and provides centralized management and administrative services to all businesses under Jim and Bob’s, direction. Jim managed the development of the stone business and expanded the publishing imprints to include fiction under the Stone Arch Books imprint. Jim studied Agricultural Economics at Gonzaga University, Spokane, and the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.

    Senior Management

    G. Thomas Ahern

    CEO, Capstone and Coughlan Companies, Inc.

    Tom joined Capstone and its parent company, Coughlan Companies, Inc., in 2007. He is responsible for the overall vision, strategy, and direction of the company. Prior to joining Coughlan Companies, Tom served as CEO of Swiftknowledge, Inc., a Minnesota Fastest 50 growth company and was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for PLATO Learning, Inc. Tom earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University, Evanston.

    William R. Rouse

    COO, Coughlan Companies, Inc.

    Bill provides direction in operations and finance for Coughlan Companies, comprised of Capstone and Jordan Sands. Before joining Coughlan Companies in 2008, Bill served as the Vice President and General Manager of Anchor Block Company and the Holmberg Company, and as President of Cargill's Seed Division. Bill has a B.A. in Political Science from Northwest Missouri State University, Marysville.

    Matthew A. Keller

    Chief Marketing Officer, Capstone

    Before joining Capstone in 2002, Matt served as Vice President of Marketing for AGS, a curriculum and assessment publisher for special needs children. Matt brings more than 25 years experience in the publishing industry to his role as Chief Marketing Officer. Matt holds a B.A. in English and Business from St. John's University, Collegeville.

    Steve Robinson

    CFO, Coughlan Companies, Inc.

    Steve Robinson is the Chief Financial Officer for Coughlan Companies. He brings to CCI 11 years at Upsher-Smith, a pharmaceutical company here in Minnesota, serving as its’ CFO for the last seven years. Steve began his career in public accounting working several years for PriceWaterhouse as it was known then. After obtaining his MBA, he then moved to Minnesota to work for Honeywell. Steve was with Honeywell for 10 years serving in a variety of finance positions before moving over to Upsher-Smith.

    Amy Schmidt

    Human Resources Director, Coughlan Companies

    Amy started at Coughlan Companies in 2001 as a Human Resources Assistant, eventually becoming the Director of her department in 2015. Among other things, Amy oversees and manages training & development programs, recruiting, employee relations, and wellness programs for both Jordan Sands and Capstone. Prior to Coughlan Companies, she was a part of the HR team at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Amy has Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute.

    Patricia Stockland

    Publisher, Capstone

    Patricia joined Capstone as Publisher in 2017. She is responsible for the strategy and execution of Capstone’s publishing list. Prior to this, Patricia was Publisher for Cantata Learning, VP and Editor in Chief of Lerner Publishing Group, and part of Red Line Editorial’s business leadership. She has written more than seventy books for children and young adults, as well as poems, scholarly articles, and marketing pieces, garnering national and regional awards. She holds an M.A. in Literature from Minnesota State University, Mankato, a B.A. in English from South Dakota State University, and a mini-MBA in Marketing Management from the University of St. Thomas.

    Eric Fitzgerald

    Vice President of Sales, Education, Capstone

    Eric has been with Capstone since 2002 and manages various segments of the sales organization. He is responsible for the sales teams that work directly with U.S. schools, and is focused on meeting the needs of the customer – both students and educators alike. Prior to joining Capstone, Eric was the Director of Sales at Sagebrush Corporation and the owner of Fitzgerald Learning Resources.

    Darin Rasmussen

    Vice President of Digital Product Development and Management, Capstone

    Darin joined Capstone in 2017, bringing over 15 years of edtech and publishing experience. He oversees the creation, deployment and maintenance of Capstone’s digital product portfolio. In his experience prior to Capstone, Darin has led strategy, marketing and business development functions at 808 Hats, Edmentum and Thomson Reuters. Darin earned an MBA from Chicago Booth Business School, a JD from Chicago-Kent, and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois.

    Gail Beer

    Vice President of Customer Relations/Fulfillment, Capstone

    Gail joined Capstone in 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President of Customer Relations and Fulfilment. She oversees Customer Services, the Distribution Center, Community Giving, Bids and Contracts, and Purchasing. Gail came to Capstone from Coloplast Corp where she was the Customer Service/Purchasing Manager. She studied Business at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

    Careers at Capstone

    Capstone is the nation’s leading educational publisher of children’s books and digital media. If you are looking for a career that provides opportunities to grow and develop, please consider Capstone. We are on the lookout for talented people who share our goals and a passion for learning, a willingness to work hard and an eagerness to share innovative ideas that help children learn along with the educators who serve them!

    Coughlan Companies, Inc.

    • Capstone is a subsidiary of Coughlan Companies
    • Coughlan Companies is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer
    • We actively encourage women, veterans and minorities to apply
    • A pre-employment drug screen & background check is required of all candidates

    Employee Benefits

    Employee Total Rewards

    • Medical Insurance
    • Dental Insurance
    • Domestic Partner Insurance
    • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Provides tax savings for health and dependent care.
    • Health Initiative - Program designed to assist employees to create individual exercise habits and weight loss to improve overall long-term health and happiness.

    Investment and Retirement Planning

    • 401(k) Plan
    • Company match of 100% of the first 3% and 50% of the next 2% deferred.

    Income Protection and Security

    • Group Life and disability insurance plans provide financial protection for our eligible employees and their families.
    • Voluntary life insurance may be purchased at group rates.

    Work Life Balance

    • Generous Paid Time Off, and Paid Time Off Donation Program – Voluntary program that allows the donation of PTO to eligible employees.
    • Company Holidays
    • Personal Holiday
    • Family Medical Leave
    • Adoption Assistance – Financial reimbursement for qualifying expenses for eligible employees.
    • Employee Dependent Scholarship – College scholarship opportunity for dependents of eligible employees.
    • Employee Assistance Program – Offers confidential counseling and referral services.
    • Employee Bonus Referral Program – Bonus opportunity for the recruitment of open positions.
    • Employee Volunteer Time – Paid time off to support community initiatives through volunteerism.
    • Employee Product Discount – Generous discounts on all Capstone Publishers products.
    • Commuter Benefit Program
    • Flexible Work Environment
    • Relaxed Dress Code

    Career Development

    • New Hire Orientation.
    • On-the-Job Training to enhance job knowledge and skills.
    • Resource Library with a variety of self-study materials.
    • Tuition Reimbursement – Education reimbursement on approved courses for eligible employees.

    Join the Conversation

    We love to connect with educators, students or anyone who loves reading. Let us know what you think, or ask us about our company, imprints or any of our products and services. Contact us directly, visit our blog or connect through social media. We look forward to connecting with you.

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