Longtime educator remembered
June 14, 2012
Local educators describe a past Portales and Dora schools superintendent as a man of strong presence.
Current Portales schools Superintendent Randy Fowler knew L.C. (Lowell) Cozzens well.
"I think he was probably the most influential administrator this area had," Superintendent Randy Fowler said. "He accomplished some great things while he was here.
Cozzens, who died June 2 at 90 years old, was the superintendent of Dora schools for six years and for Portales schools for 17 years.
According to Fowler, Cozzens was responsible for re-organizing the Portales schools by individual grade levels and was a founding member of the New Mexico Coalition of School Administrators, where he was inducted into their hall of fame in 2009.
Cozzens was also recently honored by Portales schools when board members voted to name the school administration building after the long-time administrator.
"I had invited him to come to the last day of school to meet staff but he was in the hospital," Fowler said. "At least he knew we had honored him and that's a good thing. I think he felt honored by that recognition."
Fowler and retired Dora superintendent Guy Luscombe both said Cozzens was easy to like and get along with, but his military background of being a U.S. Marine carried over to education with him.
"It's hard to put into words except to say he was a person who was very enthused in what he was doing," said Luscombe, who worked under Cozzens as Dora principal for three years before becoming superintendent for 25 years. "He had some of the military carry over and a job was to be finished."
"He was very supportive of his staff but expected them to do things right," Fowler said. "Through his knowledge and his life experiences, he was influential to those around him and respected by all," Fowler said.
Cozzens' son, Gary Cozzens described his father as the poster child for one of the greatest generations, having grown up in poverty and earned his education through scholarships.
"That kind of set his morals and beliefs when growing up," Gary Cozzens said. "He was a man of integrity and he expected those who dealt with him to be the same. Although he was physically imposing, he very rarely lost his temper and if he did, he was extremely quiet in his response. But when he said something he meant it."
Cozzens went on to describe his father as a gentle giant who made his family his entire focus, along with all of his educational accomplishments.
Cozzens said his father loved spoiling his grandchildren, joking with people and loved watching sports, including Portales Rams games.
"He had a lot of awards and accomplishment in 90 years, but certainly one of the things that he was most proud of was the naming of the school administration building after him," Cozzens said. "I cannot over emphasize what that meant to him."