Interview by Kristi Hemingway
Kaela Delgado has been with Inquiry By Design since its infancy. Her role in the company has evolved and changed with each season of growth, so she has experienced the work of Inquiry By Design from every angle. In her current role she makes Inquiry By Design known through various channels and makes sure that the schools and districts we serve are well taken care of. I chatted with her recently about her passion for literacy and her work at Inquiry By Design.
KH: What drew you to working for an English/Language Arts company?
KD: My background is in English Language Arts. In high school, I tutored ESL students. In college, I received my undergraduate degree in English (Creative Writing) and interned as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal at Colorado State University. After all of that, I studied children’s and young adult book publishing at the University of Denver. Reading and writing has always been my passion, so I’ll always be happiest doing work that helps kids learn to love literacy as much as I do. When I discovered Inquiry By Design, I realized that this company represented everything that I believe about teaching literacy. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something important.
KH: What do you believe is unique about Inquiry By Design?
KD: First of all, we use interesting and engaging texts that are challenging. Most of them are not found in the literary canon and some are edgy and controversial. They give students something to relate to and talk about, and they encourage thinking outside of the box. I also think that the structure of our curriculum allows teachers as little or as much flexibility as they want, so they feel empowered to create the right learning experience for their students.
KH: What kind of reader are you?
KD: Everything, all the time! I read a lot of blogs, a lot of self-improvement books, but my true love is YA literature.
KH: What are a few favorites?
KD: Really? That’s impossible.
KH: Pick a few.
KD: I really love It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini at secondary. It’s a little controversial, but so good. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is a gem of a book that pays tribute to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (intermediate). And for primary, I have to say my childhood favorite, Possum Come A-Knockin’ by Nancy Van Laan. I checked it out and renewed it so many times, I don’t think anyone else had a chance to read it.
KH: What would we find you doing when you are not promoting literacy and taking care of business at Inquiry By Design?
KD: I love searching for midcentury vintage furniture and clothing, so I take a lot of trips to the thrift stores to clear my mind. Working on house projects and hanging out with my dogs are some of my other favorites. And when I’m not busy doing those things, I’m usually at barre class, exploring Denver’s amazing food scene, attending poetry slams, or spending time with my friends and family!
KH: What part of your current role are you the most passionate about?
KD: I love connecting with the true Inquiry By Design fans out there. I really enjoy engaging with the teachers and leaders that actually use our curriculum and strategies in their classrooms. Seeing the difference that it makes in their students’ learning is so much fun. It’s great when teachers tweet, post pictures, or send notes about the difference our work has made. Overseeing our online presence gives me the chance to see and hear what’s happening with students and make genuine connections with those educators. I suppose the best part is that I get to share my excitement with other literacy lovers! What’s better than that?