As Mayor of the City of Montevallo and Professor of Special Education at the University of Montevall, Mayor Cost focuses on working collaboratively with community members to develop a shared vision and implement needed change. An Auburn University graduate, she joined the UM faculty in 2000 after serving on the faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University. She began her public service as a Montevallo City Council member in 2004, completing two council terms before being elected to her first term as Mayor in 2012. Her community enhancement initiatives focus on arts, sustainability, and education with a central mission of youth engagement. She has demonstrated her commitment to empowering youth through initiatives such as the Kettering Foundation Community Politics Exchange, the establishment of the Montevallo Junior City Council, spearheading the David Mathews Center for Civic Life-Students’ Institute, and collaboratively founding the Montevallo Sister City Commission. Dr. Cost’s past leadership roles in this area include the development of ValloCycle, the first city-wide bike share in Alabama, the nationally-recognized Montevallo Parks Trail, Montevallo Artwalk, Montevallo’s Main Street revitalization, citywide recycling, and working through a pilot public transit system.
Most notably in 2018, the City of Montevallo successfully passed the second non-discrimination ordinance in the State of Alabama after a series of numerous public forums and dialogue and deliberation sessions. In 2019 Mayor Cost supported the Community Remembrance Project’s proposal to install a historic marker on Main Street to memorialize victims of lynchings in Montevallo’s distant history in conjunction with the Equal Justice Initiative. Mayor Cost steadfastly believes in the importance of giving victims a voice and advocating for equity and social justice. She led the development of a 2-Generation Hub in Shelby County and serves as the chair of that Leadership Council. Funded by the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, the hub’s mission is to empower single women with children to progress from poverty to full family stability by interconnecting services and fulfilling needed service gaps