Preparing Boys for Life

Ninth Head of School John Nagl

We are delighted that you are considering The Haverford School for your son. While we are not currently in session on campus to ensure the safety and health of all, Virtual Haverford continues to develop each boy’s scholarship, creativity, and athleticism as far as his talents and drive will take him. We do so while focusing on integrity, respect, and resilience at this particularly trying time.

Our 2020-25 Strategic Plan, Lifelong Learning & Leading, committed Haverford to improving our ability to deliver education in a manner appropriate to the 21st century. We did not plan to implement that guidance so quickly or so comprehensively when we published it earlier this year, but we are delighted with the way our educators have responded to the challenge. We also continue our work to enhance and embed our commitment to character development, even when we cannot meet in person. It takes strong men to learn and to grow from a safe social distance, but our boys are proving to be up to the challenge! 

I hope you will learn more about The Haverford School, including the way we are adapting to a new mode of education through Virtual Haverford, and how our community is embodying Haverford's core virtues in standing up against the pandemic.

Explore our outstanding liberal arts curriculum, read faculty and student perspectives on our blog, discover our inclusive community, learn about our forthcoming purpose-built middle school, or attend a virtual admissions event.

At Haverford, we know boys -- and we’re eager to get to know yours.

Go Fords!

John A. Nagl, D.Phil.
Ninth Head of School

Headmaster John Nagl History

Dr. Nagl teaching a section of Modern Middle East History.

About Dr. Nagl

Dr. John Nagl is the Ninth Head of School of The Haverford School. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Prior to assuming his role at The Haverford School in 2013, Dr. Nagl was the inaugural Minerva Research Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and has also taught at West Point and Georgetown University.

Dr. Nagl was the President of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. and remains a Non-Resident Senior Fellow. He served on the Defense Policy Board and on the Reserve Forces Policy Board and testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He served in the Army for 20 years, leading a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and serving as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Dr. Nagl was a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Military Academy Class of 1988 who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He was the Alumnus of the Year of Creighton Preparatory High School in 2012.

Dr. Nagl is the author of Knife Fights: A Memoir of Modern War and Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. He was on the writing team that produced the Counterinsurgency Field Manual. He has also been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on "The News Hour" with Jim Lehrer and "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart.

Media featuring Dr. Nagl

Blog posts by Dr. Nagl

John Nagl Headmaster of The Haverford School

John A. Nagl, D.Phil.
Ninth Head of School
Rhodes Scholar


  • B.S., United States Military Academy
  • M.Phil., St. John's College, Oxford University
  • D.Phil., St. Antony's College, Oxford University
  • M.M.A.S., United States Army Command and General Staff College