Jocelyn (Sheppard) Cosgrave '02 '05

This two-time Education graduate of Rio Grande was a first generation college student, and now is an Assistant Superintendent for Reynoldsburg City Schools. Earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Rio, Cosgrave went on to obtain her Education Doctoral Degree in Instructional Leadership from Nova Southwestern University with a published dissertation related to students taking ownership of their own learning through authentic learning tasks.

After graduating the first time with her Bachelor’s, Cosgrave landed her first teaching job but soon thereafter enrolled right back at Rio to get her Master’s degree. She taught middle school grades for 10 years then moved on to administrative roles. Cosgrave also was part of starting a project-based learning school from the ground up. During this, she was the Director/Principal of the high school in Zanesville. Two year’s later, she became Principal of a arts academy, Encore Academy that is part of Reynoldsburg High School.

Cosgrave lives in Zanesville with her husband of 13 years, Neil, and their two energetic sons – Shepp, 11 and Ayce, 6.


          1.     What made you choose to pursue a college education at Rio Grande?

I was looking for a small school to attend. We actually found out about Rio by accident through an acquaintance of my mom's. Rio's staff and students were friendly people who seemed to work hard and care about one another. I did end up earning an Atwood full tuition scholarship for academics, and then a small softball scholarship to help with room and board. I will admit that at first the decision to attend Rio was mostly a financial one; we found it brilliant that Rio used the Community College status for students for the first two years. Soon though, I found out that attending Rio was the best accidental, financially responsible decision I would ever make. It was meant to be!

          2.    How involved were you on Rio's campus?

I played softball for two years and during that time, our team did a lot of community service work both on and off campus. Of course, as a lot of the students do, I worked at the Bob Evans Farm Festival each year. I also was a Student Ambassador for a couple of years, and I enjoyed giving those tours to prospective students. I often attended Bible Study, ran the shot clock for basketball games, worked at the Instructional Media Center during the evenings, and I even tutored other college students with special needs and circumstances. In addition to all of that, I was in the Honors program and Freshmen Honor Society. Somewhere in between all of that, I studied as I had to keep my GPA above a 3.0 to keep my academic scholarship from year to year. Often you would see me with notecards in hand during time-outs of basketball games - there was always time to multi-task!

          3.     What did Rio offer you besides an education?

This is simple. Rio offered me a family, and a home away from home. 

          4.     What are some of your favorite Rio memories?

My favorite memories include the fun activities planned to keep us all sane during finals week, including the midnight pancake breakfast, sleigh-riding down Lyne Center hill when it snowed, attending Rio's basketball games and sitting couches in the bleachers in the student section. I also fondly remember seeing Bevo Francis and Bob Evans a few times a month at school events, and our wonderful professors that were patient and understanding as we all grew and developed into young adults. 

          5.     Was there any teacher, advisor, coach, etc. that made an impact on your life? 

I had a few professors that changed my life. Jake Bapst was my first professor in my first ever college class. I latched on to him and never let go during the four years I was there. He counseled me, he made me laugh, he gave me a job, and most importlantly, he believed in me. He and Mike Thompson were the perfect pair for the IMC. Linda Bauer also changed my life. I had never met a more empathetic, compassionate human being in all of my life. She changed my whole perspective about what teaching should be. It's really not about teaching content - it's about building relationships that exude unconditional love to children when they need it the most. Barry and Judithe Thompson's classes were challenging, sometimes intimidating, and intriguing to me. Soon I found out that Judithe and I had a similar sense of humor, and Barry tolerated us both, which is commendable. I was in Judithe's class when the attacks on the World Trade Center happened. It is something that I will never forget as we all looked to her that day for answers and guidance. I had other professors that were wonderful also - Dr. Tribe, Dr. Wilson, and even Dr. Dean (once I overcame my fear of him). I never had a single professor that wasn't fair and kind. 

          6.     Tell us about life after Rio.

After I left Rio, the first time I returned home I was blessed to get my first teaching job. After one semester off, I enrolled in a Master's program at Rio - I had become so accustomed to learning that I couldn't stop. I always have Rio on my mind and in my heart. I have noticed that my mindset about education and students is so very different than others that I have met throughout my career. I am thankful for that, and I owe it to 'my old Rio', and the people who make up the Rio family. 

          7.     How did Rio prepare you for your career?

I loved that Rio's education program was competitive and that is allowed us to get into the classroom right away to make sure it was the right fit for us as education majors. I learned to think, research, plan, and revise those plans to solve problems for students. I still use those skills each day on the job. 


          8.     Why are you proud to be a Rio Alumna?

I am proud that the University of Rio Grande has always kept the needs of students first. I strive to do the same every day at work.

          9.    Do you have any advice for current students?

Don't stop, and don't give up! I know that what you are doing is so very hard, but keep your eye on the prize. Later you will look back and realize that all of this work is a part of the journey that will make you into who you are meant to be. My other advice - pray!