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.

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!

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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.

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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 Content+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/Intl. Studies from Grinnell College and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.

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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 served as Educational Consultant for Gale, where he managed K-12 sales 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.

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.

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Claudia Rodriguez, EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANT (TEKS)

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, collaborative planning, and district-wide professional development, but her greatest expertise is in the field of second language acquisition. Claudia combines 11 years of experience as a Dual Language Teacher and Instructional Coach at Grand Prairie ISD with her own personal experience as an English language learner. Claudia holds an MSEd in educational leadership from the University of Scranton and a BA in Communications from Santa Clara University. Her mission is to combine her knowledge and experience to deliver the best instructional strategies and content to teachers and, ultimately, to students.

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.

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Michael Huckaby, 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.

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Jaclynn Emig, PD & implementation Specialist/AM

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.

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Lauren Umbehauer, 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.

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.

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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.

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.