Cotler significantly reduced her acting roles for many years while she attended University of California, Berkeley, earning a degree in Social Sciences. Her first teaching job, coincidentally, took her to a small rural Virginia school in the Blue Ridge Mountains, much like the fictional one she attended on The Waltons. Cotler returned to California in 2001 and took a position teaching 9th grade at Environmental Charter High School. In 2004, Cotler accepted the job as co-director of the Ocean Charter School, a position held until 2007 when she started her own educational consulting business. She served as the founding Principal of Environmental Charter Middle School, an education facility in southern Los Angeles County, California. Cotler is a past board member of the American Montessori Society.
In addition to working as an educator, Cotler ran her own boutique travel company and managed a San Francisco cafe. She has reprised her role as the youngest Walton child in each of the Waltons' reunion movies and she occasionally makes speeches and personal appearances. In 2010 Cotler was seen on a Waltons cast reunion and series retrospective that aired on cable network INSP. She is married and has two children.