Speak Agent is the leading academic language learning platform for K-12 public schools. It boosts math and science outcomes by improving vocabulary, content knowledge, STEM communication and reasoning skills.

Our team 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.


Ben Grimley, CEO & Co-founder

Ben is an 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.


Claudia Rodriguez, k-12 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 leadership roles, from teaching to mentoring to overseeing instruction. Her extensive skillset includes coaching, planning, and district-wide PD, but her greatest expertise is SLA. 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 UT-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 LEARNING officer & CO-FOUNDER

Dan is a 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.


Michael Huckaby, K-12 educational consultant

Michael is an 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.


Jaclynn Emig, K-12 implementation specialist

Jaclynn is an elementary STEAM educator with experience teaching in Title I and urban schools in Philadelphia, PA and Arlington, VA. She has tirelessly advocated for special populations of students and strategically supplemented rigorous curricula to meet the dynamic needs of learners in both traditional and virtual classrooms. As a STEAM and Edtech enthusiast, she has worked closely with school leaders to implement school-wide STEAM initiatives and Project Based Learning practices. Jaclynn holds a BSEd from the University of Delaware in Elementary and Middle Grades Teacher Education.


Jose Yamas, K-12 Data analyst

Yamas specializes in deep learning technologies that make data easier to use and explore. He has extensive knowledge using data visualization and natural language processing. A strong believer in the power of collaboration and creativity in solving problems, Yamas works tirelessly to make the world a better and more inclusive place, one line of code at a time. In his spare time, he is a Data Science Instructor. Yamas also enjoys learning and hiking during about as much as he loves eating pizza.

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 teacher at the JCCGW, writer for the Des Moines Register and the New York Times Education section. She also wrote for clients such as 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 & 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.