Preparing Boys for Life

Headmaster John Nagl

We are delighted that you are considering The Haverford School for your son. Our community of educators is committed to developing 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 courage.

As outlined in our five-year update of A Strategic Vision: 2010-2020, the School's greatest aspiration in the near-term future is to focus more intentionally on our role as leaders in educating boys to become men of strong character. Haverford students are solid citizens of Philadelphia, of our great nation, and of the world they will soon lead. This focus rests on the foundation of an academically rigorous institution where extraordinary educators prepare remarkable boys for life.

I hope you will learn more about The Haverford School, whether by exploring our outstanding liberal arts curriculum, reading faculty and student perspectives on our blog, learning more about our inclusion community, or visiting campus for an admissions event. At Haverford, we know boys -- and we’re eager to get to know your son.

Go Fords!

John A. Nagl, D.Phil.
Ninth Headmaster

Headmaster John Nagl History

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

About Dr. Nagl

Dr. John Nagl is the Ninth Headmaster 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 Headmaster
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


Upcoming events with Dr. Nagl

Foreign Policy Research Institute Main Line Briefings

Feb. 18
April 7
May 12

Read more >