Class of “99 graduates return as teachers in Westborough

By Myles Goldman Contributing Writer
(l to r) Craig McCoskery, Casey Cullen and Becky Tramontozzi are excited to be teaching at their alma mater. PHOTO/MYLESGOLDMAN

Westborough – Every morning Westborough High School ( WHS) teachers Casey Cullen, Craig McCoskery and Becky (Goede) Tramontozzi go to work at a very familiar place. During the walk to their classrooms, the three teachers pass through some of the same halls they did 10 years ago – when they were students.

Cullen, Tramontozzi and McCoskery are all WHS Class of 1999 grad- uates. They are part of a faculty that has more than half a dozen teachers who have graduated from the school. The three believe the return of alumni like themselves can be attributed to the overall appeal of the WHS community.

Back when they were in high school, though, they could not have imagined they would be teaching at their alma mater. Tramontozzi, whose parents are also teachers, did always know she wanted to be an educator. After choosing to attend Concordia University in Chicago, Tramontozzi planned to teach students in a downtown Chicago high school. Instead, she began her career at WHS in the fall of 2005.

Tramontozzi first considered the idea of returning to Westborough after talking to McCoskery at the their fiveyear high school reunion. Mc- Coskery was already teaching math at the school, and he mentioned to Tramontozzi that administrators were looking to hire additional teachers. The job opportunity appealed to Tramontozzi because she was considering leaving the adolescent residential treatment center where she had been working. She figured applying to her alma mater would be a good way to start her job search because she wanted to teach at a school that was similar.

“I was looking for a high school like Westborough where a community valued education,” Tramontozzi said.

Like Tramontozzi, teaching in his hometown was far from Casey Cullen's mind when he joined the U. S. Coast Guard Academy following high school graduation. While in the Coast Guard Academy, Cullen studied engineering but later left and attended Worcester State University, where he graduated with a major in psychology. He then moved to Canada for a few years, spending time managing several restaurants. When Cullen returned home for a visit, he saw WHS history teacher and current department head Edward Belbin around town. Belbin, who knew Cullen as a former student, tried to convince him to become a history teacher. But since Cullen's parents had been teachers, he was wary of entering the teaching profession. After tiring of managing restaurants, he had a change of heart and decided to accept Belbin's advice. He went back to school to major in history at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was offered a job in Westborough for the spring of 2008.

For McCoskery, teaching became an interest in high school thanks to current math teachers Janice Louis and department chair Cynthia Mignini. Both women taught McCoskery and inspired him to use his strength in the subject to teach others. Before returning to the high school, McCoskery spent his first two years of college at Clark University and then transferred to Worcester State University. He graduated from Worcester State and began teaching at WHS in the fall of 2004.

McCoskery's affinity for and knowledge of the high school led him to return.

“You know the standards that are expected, you know the people very well [and] you know your way around,” McCoskery said.

One of his biggest challenges upon arrival was calling his former teachers – now his colleagues – by their first names. Thanks to their support, however, he quickly felt comfortable in his new role.

Students, fellow teachers and the community have all contributed to making the three alumni-turned-teachers more than happy to be a part of Westborough.

“It's still a great community to raise a family,” Cullen said. “It's still a great community to go to school in, and it's a great community to come back to, and that's why I's here.”