Head of School Search

Rhodes Scholar Named Next Headmaster
of The Haverford School

It is with great honor that we announce that the Board of Trustees of The Haverford School unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. John A. Nagl to succeed Dr. Joseph T. Cox as Haverford’s ninth headmaster. We are extremely excited to have Dr. Nagl join our community and are confident that he will carry on Joe Cox’s great work and lead us to continued success in the future.

As many of you know, this appointment is the culmination of an extensive international search in which the Board Search Committee and a specially appointed Faculty/Staff Subcommittee screened and interviewed numerous highly qualified candidates before unanimously agreeing that John Nagl was a perfect fit. Our search consultant, Spencer Stuart, deserves special credit for identifying John Nagl as a potential candidate and engaging him in our search process.

John is an award-winning scholar and teacher, an author, an extraordinary role model, a decorated retired military officer, and a tested and authentic leader. He currently serves as the Minerva Research Fellow in the Department of History at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and is a past president and current nonresident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Although John’s credentials are extraordinary, what struck the Board Search Committee, the Faculty/Staff Subcommittee, and The Board of Trustees was John’s inspirational leadership and passion for educating future generations of boys and young men. John will value, respect, and complement the strengths and traditions of Haverford while clearly focusing on the future – refining our vision, purpose, and direction and inspiring excellence on all fronts.

John is a proud graduate of the all-boys Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Neb., and a distinguished graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988, where he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. John then served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years, where he led tank battalions in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He earned two Bronze Star Medals for meritorious service. John then taught international relations and national security studies at West Point’s Department of Social Sciences and in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program; he also served as a military assistant to two deputy secretaries of defense. John earned his doctorate in international relations from Oxford University in 1997. In 2001, he earned the George C. Marshall Award as the overall top student and the Benjamin Grierson Award as the top strategist at Command and General Staff College.

Among other publications, John is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam. His writings have been published in The New York TimesWashington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. John has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Magazine and has appeared on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio, 60 MinutesWashington Journal, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Undoubtedly, you will be interested to know that, in addition to serving as Haverford’s headmaster, John will also be a Haverford parent. He and his wife, Susanne, have a son, Jack, who will enter Haverford’s Middle School a year from now.

“I am enormously proud to be joining The Haverford School as both the headmaster and a parent. I have been impressed by the sense of community and shared commitment to excellence I have observed among the staff and faculty, the Board of Trustees, and the boys I’ve met. It is a particular joy to follow in the footsteps of Joe Cox, a man I have known and admired for more than 15 years. I hope to continue his legacy of servant leadership while ‘building men for others,’” said John.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the committees who gave significantly of their time and talent throughout this process. To give you a sense of our work, since the beginning of the year we have been reviewing the backgrounds of, and meeting a broad number of, highly qualified educators from independent schools and other educational institutions. With the assistance of Spencer Stuart, more than 300 candidates were screened, and a pool of 65 candidates was considered. We were pleased that interest in the Haverford headmaster opportunity was extremely high, and we were fortunate to have attracted so many exceptional prospects.

We also would like to thank the members of The Haverford School community who shared their insights and perspectives throughout this search and on whose counsel and advice we relied. We heard from each of you that you want a headmaster who will lead our school with passion, commitment, and integrity. In John, we believe that we have found an individual who possesses those qualities, someone who will base every decision on what is in the best interests of our boys and the long-term health of The Haverford School. We are certain that John’s capacity for inspirational leadership, personal warmth, and insightful thoughts about educating boys in the 21st century will serve us exceedingly well in the future.

On behalf of the entire Haverford community, we look forward to welcoming John, Susanne, and Jack Nagl to our school and our community. We will have many opportunities to express our gratitude to Joe Cox in the coming year, and, as we make this important announcement, we want to publicly acknowledge that it was Joe’s extraordinary leadership that enabled us to attract John Nagl to our school.


John F. Stoviak ’69
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Search Committee Co-Chair

William (Bill) C. Yoh ’89, P’18, ’24
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Search Committee Co-Chair

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