Teacher Spotlight - Tom Cogliano '02
A World Series ring is the crown-jewel for baseball players and fans alike. One, in particular, has always been close to home for Tom Cogliano ‘02.
His grandfather, Rube Walker, was the back-up catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers when they beat New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series. He can be seen standing next to Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, in the team photo from 1955.
Despite coming from a die-hard sports family, Tom has always had a passion for teaching and fondly remembers his time at Bishop Ireton.
“Four great years of my life were at Bishop Ireton,” he said. “I was actually thinking about coming back here to Nothern Virginia after graduation because my passion through college was education.”
He chose to double major in history and math while attending the University of Mary Washington. Shortly after earning his masters in education from George Mason University, he began looking for local teaching jobs. In 2009, he was hired as an adjunct history professor at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and earned a full-time job several years later.
“Even though I had mainly been using my history degree at NVCC, I volunteered in the Math Help Center on campus and tutored math on the side as well.”
In the summer of 2016, he found his way back to BI when he landed a job as a math teacher. Several of his teachers who taught him as a student, Ron Umbeck, Mike Rauer, and Br. Rick Wilson, were suddenly now his colleagues. “It was hard to call them by their first names and not call them ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs,” he said. “The one skill I appreciated the most from my classes was how to write a research paper. Br. Rick was a huge inspiration for me and helped me hone my writing skills.”
When he hands out exams to his students, Tom includes his favorite quote from St. Francis de Sales (Be Who You Are and Be That Well) on the cover of each one. “That quote has always stood by me throughout my life,” he said. “That is St. Francis de Sales and is the heart of Bishop Ireton, and what it’s like to be a student at BI.”
In his free time, Tom enjoys playing free games of poker with local groups in the area and is a certified tournament director with World Tavern Poker League.