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. Speak Agent, Inc. offers the Math+LanguageSM and Science+LanguageSM programs as part of our Content+LanguageSM and Multilingual High SchoolSM course series.

Speak Agent Team PhotoOur 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, Chief Technology Officer & 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 CEO and Co-Founder of Speak Agent, Inc. An ESL teacher who became a leading educational app creator, Ben led the launch of PBS KIDS Mobile, where his apps resulted in significant gains in language acquisition for millions of young learners. He co-created Speak Agent to address the achievement gap for marginalized learners, pioneering a unique Content+Language integration approach based on current Learning Sciences research. Ben has served as Principal Investigator for impact studies sponsored by IES, NSF, and NIH.


Charles Askew, Vice President of Sales

Charles brings 30 years of experience in education and sales leadership. As a lifelong educator—from teacher to Principal to District Administrator—Charles committed his career to teaching students of all abilities and to championing the needs of diverse and underserved learners. After service as a public educator, he entered the private sector as a Special Education Advocate and helped families and students navigate the special education process in MD, VA, DC and NY. Before joining the Speak Agent, Charles managed K-12 sales at Gale in Maryland and Delaware. At Gale, Charles led a successful effort to develop and disseminate diversity & equity content. Prior to Gale, he was Director of Inside Sales and Account Management for Kajeet, where he directed account growth and retention. Charles holds a BS from the University of Maryland.


Divya Shannon, MEd, Secondary STEM Specialist

Divya is a dedicated STEM educator with 11 years of experience teaching all levels of high school math, biology, physics and chemistry. She has extensive experience building curriculum based on CCSS and the TEKS, promoting equity and differentiation in secondary math and science classes, and facilitating professional development for other educators to do the same. Divya holds a BS in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, an MEd from Texas State, and an MA in Organizational Management from Endicott College. 


Lauren Umbehauer, MEd, PD & Implementation Specialist

Lauren is a science educator with six years of experience bringing curiosity and excitement into the classroom for secondary students. Lauren’s passion for science education has allowed her to create Next Generation Science curricula and learning opportunities for her students focused on real-world collaborative STEM learning. She is a proven leader in implementing new technologies in the classroom and providing rigorous professional development on research-based teaching strategies. Lauren holds a BS in Elementary and Middle School Science Education from the University of Delaware and a Masters in STEM Curriculum and Instruction from Adams State University.

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, MEd, educational consultant (WIDA)

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.

Jorge Perez

Jorge Perez, Frontend 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, Backend 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.

Leah Claflin Headshot

Leah Claflin, Marketing Manager

Leah Claflin is an experienced EdTech marketing and communications professional with a passion for accelerating learning and serving K-12 educator communities. She has worked as a marketing consultant in her home state of Minnesota, where she lives with her husband Charlie and Cat, Lucy. Leah loves spending time outdoors, reading, writing, and landscape photography. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts, and was a finalist for the 2020 "Boston in 100 words" competition.

Julie Grimley

Julie Grimley, Content 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.