Playdates got easier when David and McNally Sagal moved their family to La Cañada Flintridge 14 years ago.
“Before we moved to La Cañada, we were in private school and people came from a 25-mile radius, so playdates were very difficult,” McNally Sagal said. “It was really, really nice to be in such a small town, where you could practically walk to anyone in your class.”
That close community feel fit the Sagals just fine. Since arriving in LCF, they’ve devoted themselves to a variety of volunteer positions, including numerous roles associated with the La Cañada Unified School District — efforts that have earned them a Golden Apple, the annual award that salutes those who have made a significant contribution to local education.
Together, David and McNally will be honored alongside recipients from 10 other local school districts at the ACSA Golden Apple Awards breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Santa Anita Frontrunner in Arcadia.
“We think we’re really lucky,” David said. “We jumped in with both feet and never looked back, and it’s been a pleasure being part of the district and part of the community. Really, one of the best moves we’ve made.”
David, an executive at Warner Bros., recently served one term on the LCUSD Governing Board, including the year he spent as president in 2016. He’s also been the president of the Music Parents Association.
McNally, an actress, continues to volunteer on the LCHS Choral Parents’ Association Board, as she has since 2005, basically supporting choral director Jeff Brookey however she can, including helping to organize the popular holiday song-a-gram fundraiser.
She also was the assistant producer of the “Guys and Dolls” production in 2017 and, before that, she served as a PTA room representative at La Cañada Elementary School and as a regular on the car-line committee there — “A tough job!” she joked. “Only the very special people can wear those safety vests.”
“And look good,” David added.
They both also have been active with the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation; she was a director on its board from 2005-08 and he served as its director from 2011-13.
All that time and effort isn’t unusual in LCF, David said.
“That’s what makes the schools so great,” he said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone whose kids are in school who is not involved in some material way. It’s just great for the district and also great for the parents and the students because they get to spend time together.”
Their three children — Beau, Nora and Finn (a senior) — all have been LCUSD students, excelling in the arts among other endeavors.
“We really have had so much joy with our kids in the music program,” said David, a saxophonist whose trio plays jazz at the Proper in LCF the second Thursday of each month. “And we really have had a great time trying to support and help the music. It’s been a lot of fun to try to support all these talented kids and talented teachers.”
Sagal was an advocate for the music department while he was a member of the Governing Board, which during his tenure approved the expansion of music instruction — in addition to many other initiatives, including seeing through the passage of Measure LCF and negotiating a contentious contract with the teachers union in 2016.
“The main comment I got from people in the community was, ‘Wow, we were so, so lucky to have David on the board,’” McNally said. “I saw how much he put into it, and great changes came from his efforts. It was really impressive. And it’s fun to really put yourself out there in the community and have people recognize what you’ve done. It’s a pretty happy way to live your life.”
In addition to their work with the schools, McNally also has been active with the Girl Scouts and the National Charity League. David dedicated time to the Boy Scouts and has been on the USC/Verdugo Hills Hospital Board for the past 10 years.
“Individually and as a team, David and McNally are two of La Cañada Unified School District’s most valuable resources,” Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said in a statement. “The district could not be more fortunate or more grateful for the Sagals generous endeavors in support of LCUSD.”