Name: Dr. Josh Cotter
Hometown: West Plains, MO
Currently Resides: West Plains, MO
Occupation: Director, South Central Career Center
All Degrees (and where from): A.A. Missouri State University-West Plains, 2002; BSEd in History, Missouri State University-Springfield, 2005; MSEd in Educational Administration, Missouri State University-Springfield, 2008; EdS in Educational Administration, Missouri State University-Springfield, 2010; EdD in Educational Administration, 2013, Saint Louis University.
“Don’t. Hold. Back. As the saying goes, leave it all on the field. Take a class that might interest you, go to an event to meet different people, and find a way to leave your mark.”
The opportunity to save money with the A+ Program may have been one factor, but the decisions of friends helped push Josh Cotter to staying in West Plains to attend Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) for his first two years of postsecondary education.
“It seems like a more mature reason now than I remember it feeling at the time, but that really was an amazing opportunity to save money. Let’s be honest though, I also had many friends that chose to attend MSU-West Plains. That never hurts,” Josh said.
MSU-WP provided Josh the steppingstone to continue his education while allowing him to acclimate to university life.
Josh used his time at MSU-WP to explore where he wanted to go and how to get there. He started by getting involved in campus life through the Student Government Association (SGA). While serving on SGA, Josh was part of developing the first agreement for student health services and was the first student member of the West Plains Civic Center Board of Directors.
By choosing to get involved in campus organizations, Josh saw what opportunities were available by just signing up and seeing where it took him.
The one thing that sets MSU-WP apart from other universities is the personal relationships a student can build with faculty and staff. Josh credits Dr. Kathy Morrison and Mrs. Judy Carr for pushing him to think outside the box, especially while planning his career path. This helped him tremendously, especially when he transferred to Missouri State University’s Springfield campus.
“You never know where life will lead you. I didn’t expect to come back home. I didn’t expect to work in education.”
Josh moved back to his hometown West Plains after obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Springfield campus.
Today, Josh says he is exactly where he wants to be, doing what he wants to do. As the director of the South Central Career Center, his job is to make sure that people are prepared to enter the workforce. He gets to work in the community with partners like MSU-WP and many area employers to fulfill their mission.
“It is an extremely rewarding career that allows me to be a part of an amazing team of teachers and support staff,” Josh said when speaking of his current role.
Josh came to MSU-WP as a first-generation college student and has learned the impact that education can have on individuals and the community as a whole. Through his current role, he now promotes education as a means to improve quality of life.
Whether its financial success, improving knowledge about the world around us or just learning more about yourself, education is key in all of that in Josh’s mind.
“Take a class that might interest you, go to an event to meet different people, and find a way to leave your mark,” Josh said.
Josh sums up his experience at MSU-WP by saying it was exactly what he needed when he needed it and he’ll forever be grateful for the friendships made and everything he learned along the way.