Father figure at home, on campus

Father’s Day Spotlight

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

 Father figure at home, on campusWith an abundance of exemplary father figures in our community, it’s hard to narrow our focus to just one. In the hopes of unearthing some unsung gem from among those who interact with our children on a daily basis, we solicited input from Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent Ernie Bell — who immediately began singing the praises of Murray Middle School Assistant Principal John Cosner.

“You know, I have watched John for many, many years. And to me he is an absolute model of a kind and loving father figure — not just with his own children, but with our students,” said Bell.

“I think he’s phenomenal in so many ways — from the energy he brings to his job to the devotion he has as a husband and a father. The fact that he has so much to give to both his job and his family is just incredible. You see an individual like this and you just ask yourself, ‘how does he do it?’”

“I have to tell you something funny that my husband Scott — who is also an amazing father, by the way — said to me after he met John,” said Murray Principal Kirsti Smith.

“We were having a party and John, as he often does, arrived with three of his little girls. After everyone was gone, Scott said to me, ‘Oh my Gosh! What an amazingly attentive and understanding young man he is with his family! He listens to his children, he doesn’t stifle or control them, but he guides them gently.’

“I always felt that meant a lot, coming from another great father,” said Smith.

“When I watch John interact with our students, I see that same commitment to really listening to our students, giving them a high level of respect — treating them as he would treat his own children.

“I think that’s why our Murray kids respond so well to him. They know that they are really being heard.”

“I spoke a couple of years ago during commencement about the difference between talent and gifts,” said Bell.

“The way I look at it, a talent is something you can acquire or develop. You can go to school and train to become a doctor. But a gift is something that comes from within — you don’t learn it in school — and some teachers just have that.

“John is clearly a talented educator, but I think he also has a gift in many ways. The one that stands out to me is that gift of fatherhood — having a genuine passion for making a connection with the people around him,” said Bell.

“And being an educator and being a parent are very closely connected — neither is an 8-to-5 job; it’s something that’s a part of you all the time. To me John is an outstanding example of a man who never fails to meet the needs of the people around him at home and at work.”

“John is awesome to work with,” agreed Smith. “Heck, that little 32-year-old man guides me a lot of times. He is just wise beyond his years.”

At home, John has a wife, Kelly, who runs a small farm while tending their four young children — the eldest three of whom are homeschooled.

“As a father John is both kind and encouraging with our girls, yet still firm when he needs to be. They have such love and respect for him because he takes the time to see to their individual needs while also taking up our family as a whole,” said Kelly.

“I think all of those aspects have enabled him to better cater to the needs of students.

“He shows them that he cares, gives them guidance and counseling, helps them through their struggles and gives them opportunities to make things right — all while maintaining a steady yet peaceful presence. That’s exactly what he does at home.”

Kelly said that despite long days at work, that weariness is left at the door when he comes home. “John is not just an amazing husband and a wonderful father, he is the rock of our family.”

Pictured: John Cosner with his wife, Kelly, and their daughters (from left) Emma, Maddie, Erynn and Sarah.-- Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2017-06-16