“I moved back to Culver City in 2007, where I became politically active, and voilà, I'm Mayor of the town in which I grew up!”

Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells T/91
Walking through the halls of King Hall in the late 80s and early 90s, ’91 Theatre alumna Meghan Sahli-Wells never thought she’d be one of only 5 elected female city council members for Culver City in the last 100 years and eventually the town’s mayor.  However, though Meghan’s position as Mayor of Culver City may have been unforeseen her passion for government was far from new.

“I had been politically active at a pretty young age, joining the L.A. Student Coalition in fifth or sixth grade. We protested against Apartheid in South Africa, racism in the U.S., and more. In high school, this passion was fostered by my favorite LASCHA teacher Jerry Freedman.” She credits Mr. Freedman, who continues to teach at LACHSA, with helping her to “embody the principles of Democracy.” She goes on to say that he “helped to plant the seeds that grew into [her] sense of civic participation and empowerment today.”

Meghan Sahil-Wells &
Jerry Freedman at her
mayoral inauguration.
April 2014

Meghan’s work in Culver City has led to an increase in the implementation of solar panels as well as composting in the city’s five elementary schools. In addition to expanding bikeways and extending transportation services, she works tirelessly to battle oil fracking.  One major goal is to set the city down a path that relies less on fossil fuels.  The tasks may seem daunting but according to Meghan “the bigger the challenge, the more satisfying it is to help solve it.” 

Though Meghan’s political success is evident, her journey during Life after LACHSA took a few unexpected turns. Upon graduating, I realized I no longer wanted to pursue theatre [as] it was no longer my dream. Instead, I majored in World Arts and Cultures at UCLA, and spent my junior year in Toulouse, France.” Meghan continued her studies and travels to West Africa and Madagascar; however, no country had as strong an impact as France.

Her “one year [in Toulouse] turned into 15 years abroad.” And who’s responsible for setting Meghan down this Francophile path? Well it’s none other than LACHSA’s very own Madame Marian Kliger. “She introduced me to the language which ended up changing my life. She had these great pronunciation exercises which made students comfortable with the language, introduced us to French culture, and had a very effective teaching style.” Meghan’s husband is French and their two sons were born in Paris.

Family Lucien Sahli (9), Meghan Sahli-
Wells, Karim Sahli (husband) Emilien Sahli
(12) on night of mayoral inauguration.

Just as Meghan’s French classes continue to serve her, she also draws on her theatre training as an aide for her professional career. “It helps my presentation, poise, and confidence - but also, it helps me to be more aware of the people around me.” Meghan says her study of theatre taught her important life skills which are critical when“running a contentious Council meeting or making a speech in front of a couple hundred people.”  

It’s needless to say that Meghan’s LACHSA education has made a lasting impression and her connections to her alma mater remain strong.  Her professional success as a government leader is an extension of LACHSA’s success as well.  From King Hall to City Hall, Meghan continues to uphold the LACHSA Alumni legacy.