Speak Agent is the first academic language learning platform to deliver significant learning outcomes in STEM subjects. Our mission is to bridge the achievement gap for marginalized learners by helping them to acquire the language of content — thereby enabling them to unlock their full potential!

Speak Agents

Katie Cunningham

Katie Cunningham, CTO & Co-founder

Katie is a leading expert in the Python programming language. She has written three books and a video series for learning Python, published by Pearson and O’Reilly, has presented at key software development conferences, including PyCon, DjangoCon, jQuery, and Plone, and is a leader of the Washington DC chapter of PyLadies, an organization dedicated to training women in Python. She has also led linguistic R&D for National Science Foundation and US Department of Education projects. Prior to joining Speak Agent, Katie spent nine years at Cox Media Group and NASA, where she served as technical lead.

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Ben Grimley, CEO & Co-founder

Ben is a former ESL teacher who became a leading educational app creator. He led PBS KIDS Game & App Publishing where his products resulted in significant gains in language acquisition for millions of young learners. He then co-created Speak Agent to address the achievement gap for marginalized learners, pioneering a unique "STEM+Language" integration approach based on current learning sciences research. Ben has also served as Principal Investigator for K-12 educational impact studies sponsored by IES, NSF, and NIH programs. He holds a BA in Chinese & International Studies from Grinnell College and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

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Claudia Rodriguez, Educational Consultant

Claudia Rodriguez is a passionate bilingual professional in education and founder of Cognitive Concepts. Her knack for innovation in instruction has led her to hold diverse educational and leadership roles, from teaching to mentoring to overseeing instruction. Her extensive skillset includes coaching, planning, and district-wide PD, but her greatest expertise is in second language acquisition. Claudia combines 13 years as a Dual Language Teacher & Instructional Coach at Grand Prairie ISD and 5 years as Adjunct Professor of ESL/Bilingual at The University of Texas at Arlington with her own experience as an English Learner. Claudia holds an MSEd in educational leadership from the University of Scranton and a BA in Communications from Santa Clara University.

Jorge Perez

Jorge Perez, Web Application Developer

Jorge is an award-winning, bilingual front-end web app developer with 6 years of experience, including work for the US Census Bureau. Jorge holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Puerto Rico.

Luis Perez

Luis Perez, Web Application Developer

Luis is an award-winning Python developer who has a keen rivalry with his brother Jorge for writing the best software code at Speak Agent. Like his brother, Luis also holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Puerto Rico.

Dan LaFountain

Dan LaFountain, MEd, Chief Education officer & CO-FOUNDER

Dan is a former STEM and ELL teacher with 22 years in education technology, curriculum development, and partnership building at LEGO Education, Teaching Strategies, Children's Creative Learning CentersKaplan, and Blackboard. He was integral to the launch of LEGO Mindstorms and the LEGO Education brand. Dan holds an MEd in Elementary Education from Boston University and an MA in Education Technology from Pepperdine University.

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Michael Huckaby, Educational consultant

Michael is a former English as a Second Language teacher with 15 years delivering and supporting ELL products at Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Cambridge. He has served as Adjunct Language Studies Professor at Prince George's Community College's ESL Program since 2012. Michael holds an MEd from George Washington University as an ESL Language Instructor and a BA in Business Management from Tennessee State.

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Demetra Cornwell, Educational Consultant

Demetra is an elementary educator with multidisciplinary classroom teaching experience at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Unified School Districts as well as Springs Charter Schools. Her 20 years of education experience includes deep knowledge of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), advocacy for special populations, and post-secondary training. She is also a former business owner and holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a Clear Credential.

Julie Grimley

Julie Grimley, Editor

Julie curates Speak Agent's linguistic content and media resources. She previously served as an English and GED teacher at Des Moines Area Community College, PreK art teacher at the JCCGW, writer for the Des Moines Register and the New York Times (Education section), and as copy editor for China Daily. She also wrote for clients such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and the National Institutes of Health Office of Education. Julie holds a BA in Global Studies and an MA in Journalism & Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.

Lora Lee

Lora Lee, Multimedia Artist and Illustrator

Lora is an accomplished artist who illustrates and animates everything from the Speak Agent word symbols to game elements and characters. In her spare time, she serves as Assistant Professor of Digital Illustration at Eastern Connecticut State University. Lora holds an MFA in Illustration from the University of Hartford and a BA in Animation from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.