Speak Agent is the first research-based platform and pedagogy for teaching and learning academic language to deliver significant positive learning outcomes in STEM and other subjects. Our mission is to bridge the achievement gap for diverse learners, enabling them to unlock their full potential for success in school, careers, and life!

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.

Ben Grimley

Ben Grimley, CEO & Co-founder

Ben is a former English as a Second Language teacher with a track record of building effective language learning apps. He founded the PBS KIDS Games & Apps business and led it for over 6 years. In 2008, he launched PBS KIDS PLAY, a cross-curricular, game-based early childhood program that showed statistically significant gains in literacy and language development. In 2009, he launched PBS KIDS Mobile, with apps resulting in vocabulary gains of up to 31% within a two-week intervention period. Ben went on to lead development of online activities for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment used state-wide in Maryland and Ohio. After co-founding Speak Agent in 2014, he served as Principal Investigator for R/R&D projects with the US Dept. of Education and the National Science Foundation. Ben holds a BA in Chinese/International Studies from Grinnell College and an MBA from Johns Hopkins 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.


Paul Levine, Strategic advisor

Paul served as CEO of PlayScience, a strategy, innovation, and R&D firm partnered with global brands. Previously, Levine served five years as National Geographic's Head of Corporate Development and as EVP of the Interactive Platforms Group, where his teams created and globally scaled the NG mobile, video, gaming, digital publishing and K-12 businesses, generating 2,000% revenue growth. Levine also served as SVP, Corporate Development and Gen. Counsel for Ruckus Network and as Executive Director for AOL’s Strategic Alliances, Technology, Mobile and Web Properties groups. Paul holds a JD from George Washington University Law School and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Union College.

Fernando Delgado

Fernando Delgado, Web Application Developer

Fernando is a bilingual, full-stack developer who loves to share his skills: He taught Python, Java, PHP, and MySQL for three years at Colegio San José and is also a Professor of Web Development at Seattle University. Fernando develops Speak Agent’s learning games in AngularJS. He also likes to wear cool shades.

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.