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, hearing from our community about why they chose Haverford, 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 was previously the inaugural Minerva Research Professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and also taught at West Point and Georgetown University. 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 one of 20 Heads of School chosen as a Klingenstein Fellow at the Teacher's College of Columbia University in 2016. Dr. Nagl is also a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Department at Kings College of London, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Dr. Nagl was previously the President of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C. He served on the Defense Policy Board and on the Reserve Forces Policy Board and testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Dr. Nagl 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. 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.

Character and Leadership John Nagl Bill Brady Haverford School

Read the Chester County Life interview with Headmaster John Nagl and Director of Leadership Programs Bill Brady.

Ninth headmaster and rhodes scholar John A Nagl

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

Strategic Vision

Read about Dr. Nagl's vision for the School in Progress and the Path Forward >


Blog posts by Dr. Nagl

Media featuring Dr. Nagl