We had the good fortune of connecting with Delia E. Racines, Ph.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Delia, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
There are a few habits that I think have helped me succeed throughout my career and have remained helpful now as a consultant. My top three are prioritizing how I spend my time daily, writing down actionable steps to achieve my goals, and keeping up with and applying recent research to best support my clients and ultimately students.
I have always been a creature of habits and routines and block off at least one full hour each and every day for what I call my own little Power Hours. If I block off time this way, I am forced to keep a focus on my top priorities for the multiple projects I am typically tackling. I’m that person who gets full satisfaction from drawing a line through my completed tasks on my list! This advice for Power Hours was given to me by a professor while I was writing my dissertation. There were days when I did not think I could write another word and dedicating an hour a day helped me focus, just start writing, and keep moving toward completion. I try to maximize each day and remember that I can either make time or make excuses. I always ask myself before I push something off to tomorrow…do I actually have time to do it today? Nine times out of 10, the answer is yes so I just get it done!
I have also learned that it is significantly more effective for me to write down actionable steps to achieve my goals. A goal without a plan is just a wish, right? If I see my goals broken down by steps daily, I am more motivated to take one step than to overthink everything and end up doing nothing! COVID-19, as with the rest of the world, definitely changed my day-to-day and my larger goals. There’s so much more to do in the field of education now and even more is possible too. Even with these newer goals, no matter how large they are, I write them down so I see them every day and take one actionable step, no matter how small, toward achieving them each day.
In terms of research, it is really important to keep up with current trends and also walk the walk with them. It is one thing to share best practices, it is another to actually use them so I make an effort to model at least one a week with my teachers! COVID-19, again, however, has changed how rapidly trends change in the field. I am excited and anxious, like many educators around the globe, with what the future holds for education. I enjoy the various lenses we each have to see each topic and learn to engage in these conversations in ways that I never thought were possible. I am also extremely hopeful that our current conversations about race, justice, and equity will also continue to not only be infused, but be at the forefront of the conversations that need to happen in and out of all classrooms moving forward. Our students are watching to see us make actionable change!
What do you want the world to know about your brand and your story, not what keeps you busy professionally.
What I want the world to know about my brand and my story is what I stand for and why I truly believe that every coach needs a coach. Educators, no matter our specific titles, have such a challenging, yet rewarding, job on a daily basis. We literally make all other careers possible! However, whether it’s a principal, assistant principal, teacher or instructional coach that I work with, every single educator out there could benefit from a coach. I work with Principals, teachers, and Instructional Coaches who don’t just want, they need a coach, or a coach of coaches, to work alongside them and their teams. Some of the work I have done includes successfully built Instructional Coaching programs from the ground up and have also helped transition traditional department chairs into Instructional Coaches. My passion for this work is rooted in growing up as an English Learner. I find myself looking back at my journey and if it wasn’t for my teachers, I do not think I would be here today. They encouraged me to take the harder classes, get the IB high school diploma, go to college, and challenge myself when I didn’t think I could. It is because of all of those amazing teachers that I am able to reciprocate that support back to educators today so that they are better equipped to support students that need the most. I know I could have easily been overlooked and I am thankful I was not. I find that almost every single educator I work with is doing the very best they know how to do. They simply need a coach to support the work they are doing to provide a different lens to push their thinking forward to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students.
My company is named From Insight to Equity because I believe we have to carefully reflect and understand who we are as educators to be able to understand our biases and assumptions and better learn how to communicate with educators that have different lenses than our own. I have also learned that my lens holds me accountable for being a part of the solution and to assume positive intentions in all the educators I work for and with. Often, educators need support and either don’t want to call attention to themselves or don’t want to appear that they do not know how to do something. Teaching is so personal. Part of that work I do now guides all instructional leaders with how to thoughtfully and authentically build trust in their respective school sites to create an environment where we can support each other. We cannot do this work alone, especially now. I offer my services as a thought partner to educators across the county to help them make a difference and provide the support they very much need. I look forward to connecting with educators around the globe!
Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?
From Insight to Equity is my consulting firm. I coach teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches with leadership team development and facilitation, support instructional coaches with coaching strategies and clearly identifying and executing their various roles, and teachers who wish to become instructional coaches with extensive, tailored training to support their journey. Outside of the need for building instructional coaching programs, I receive many requests for ways to leverage technology in and out of the classroom for teaching and learning for administrators and teachers. I believe what sets me apart from others is that I coach administrators, teachers, and instructional coaches and offer my support tailored to the needs of each client. It’s not a one size fits all solution. I truly enjoy getting to know my clients – who they are and what their goals are in their roles.
In Orange County, I was hired by a Principal to coach a group of teachers after school outside of my contract hours. I helped them transition their roles from traditional department chairs to instructional coaches. I met with them monthly for approximately two years through tailored professional development sessions with modules on how to coach and supported the implementation of a model to flatten leadership across the entire high school. I am most proud of winning the Shirley Hord Award from Learning Forward for this work and is what I receive the most requests for support today.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I was actually awaiting one of my best friends to come and visit me on the west coast since I moved here from Washington DC and then COVID-19 happened! Ahhhh! I know one day they will be able to visit and where I will take them remains the same! I will take them to my happy place which revolves hopping in the car with my favorite four-legged friend, Guillermo Felipe, and spend the day at Huntington Beach, especially at HB’s dog beach! It is definitely my favorite beach in Southern California because it is not too far from my house and their dog beach is simply amazing. The best place for food and cocktails is definitely Kimpton’s ShoreBreak Hotel, which is also dog friendly. They have the best assortment of food and drinks and the atmosphere is one to check out. Taking a stroll down to the pier is always the best part of the day, especially when there are my favorite surf competitions to watch. For a longer stay, I would take a road trip up the beautiful California coast and drive over the Bixby Bridge on the way to Monterey. Old Fisherman’s Grotto is one place to stop for the clam chowder in a bread bowl! YUMMMMM! There are so many beautiful places to visit in SoCal. These two are definitely my top two!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love the idea of this Shoutout series because we are truly only successful with the support, love, mentorship, and encouragement of so many others throughout our journeys. I owe a huge shoutout, first and foremost, to my beautiful parents. Both humble immigrants from their respective countries of Guatemala and Ecuador, they have grounded me to be proud of my culture and language which have given me the firsthand experience to support English Learners around the world today. My parents and brother continue to support me no matter what I choose to tackle or the new city I choose to live in to follow my passion in improving education and educators one millimeter at a time.
I am also very grateful to have mentors outside of my immediate family that have all been educators, by no coincidence I’m sure. It has always been the extra push or belief in my research and teaching abilities that I didn’t know I had that I have been successful. Three mentors that I owe a huge shoutout to are Dr. Bon, Dr. Samaras, and Dr. Jenkins; two professors from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and my very first principal who always suggests to offer a handful of plausible solutions when I identify problems and to always keep students at the core of each decision I make, no matter what. They each continue to serve as positive mentors in my life and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have them cheering me along.
Instagram: https://instagram.com/frominsighttoequity or @frominsighttoequity
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dr_D_R @Dr_D_R
Nathan Bryan Photography Photo Credits: IG @nathanbryanphotography