Geoffrey A. Nagle, Ph.D., is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Erikson Institute, the nation’s premier graduate school in child development and a leading force in improving the lives of young children and their families through knowledge, research, service, and advocacy.

Dr. Nagle, an internationally recognized leader in the early childhood field, joined Erikson in January of 2014 after serving as the founding director of the Tulane University Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Tulane University School of Medicine. There, he worked closely with Louisiana government leaders to strengthen the state’s early childhood system and expand high-quality early care and education. His advocacy resulted in Quality Start, Louisiana’s child care quality rating and improvement system, and the School Readiness Tax Credits, which, since implementation in 2008, has benefited Louisiana residents with tax credits in excess of $90 million in support of quality child care. In 2016, the tax credit program was replicated in Nebraska.

At Erikson, Dr. Nagle has championed new strategies that draw from Erikson’s core strengths to broaden the institute’s impact in the complex and ever changing early childhood arena. He has driven the development and implementation of a new strategic plan that addresses how Erikson will work to transform the early childhood workforce, inform the use of technology in early childhood, improve support for families and communities, and influence leadership and policy to benefit young children, families, and communities.

Under his leadership, Erikson launched a Master of Social Work degree program, the first in the nation to integrate a child development perspective into a social work curriculum. Working with faculty, he established a groundbreaking global partnership with China’s largest private preschool provider that brings Erikson’s unique perspective on early childhood to the education of thousands of early learning professionals. He has also deepened Erikson’s advocacy efforts and relationships at the community level, and created a new Early Childhood Leadership Academy to provide advocates and lawmakers with an informed understanding of how policy shapes programs and practices in early childhood.

Dr. Nagle has presented nationally and internationally on the pivotal topics that impact a child’s early years. In 2016, he received the World Association for Infant Mental Health Sonya Bemporad Award, a global honor recognizing his significant contribution to the advancement of social and public policies that contribute to the mental health and overall benefit of infants, toddlers, and their families. He is a past recipient of the Commissioner’s Award for Child Abuse Prevention from the U.S. Department of Health and Health Services and the Charles M. Vanchiere Child Advocacy Award from the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, among others.

Born in New York City and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Dr. Nagle earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Duke University, and both a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health from Tulane University. His doctorate, also from Tulane, is in Mental Health Policy Research, an interdisciplinary degree that combined his interests in social work and public health. He serves on numerous committees and advisory groups including the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Board of Governors, the National Advisory Board for the Policy Institute for Children, and the Illinois Early Childhood Leadership Council.

Areas of Expertise

Economic benefits of prevention and the influence of early childhood research on public policy decisions


Ph.D. in mental health policy research, Tulane University
M.P.H. in international maternal and child health, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
M.S.W., Tulane University School of Social Work
B.A. in political science, Duke University


  • World Association for Infant Mental Health: 2016 Sonya Bemporad Award
  • Agenda for Children: A Voice for Louisiana’s Children 2009
  • New Orleans CityBusiness: 2009 Health Care Hero
  • Louisiana Association for the Education of Young Children: Louisiana Early Childhood Champion 2008
  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Louisiana Chapter: Charles M. Vanchiere Child Advocacy Award 2007
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Commissioner’s Award 2007 for Child Abuse Prevention, presented at the 16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana: Champion for Children 2004, Volunteer Leadership


Nagle, G. A., & Usry, L. R. (2016). Using public health strategies to shape early childhood policy. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(2), 171-178.

Boothe, A. B., & Nagle, G. A. (2013). A quality start in Louisiana: Early childhood mental health consultation as a primary support in a statewide quality rating and improvement system. Zero to Three, 33(5), 45-51.

Graham, M. A., Nagle, G. A., Wright, C., & Oser, C. (2012). Altering the developmental trajectory of public policy: Three states’ success stories in infant mental health. Zero to Three, 33(2), 66-73.

Gleason, M. M., Heller, S. S., Nagle, G. A., Boothe, A., Keyes, A., & Rice, J. (2012). Mental health screening in child care: Impact of a statewide training session. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 14(2).

Nagle, G. (2012). Building an early childhood budget to support a comprehensive early childhood system in Louisiana. In S. L. Kagan & K. Kauerz (Eds.), Early childhood systems: Transforming early learning. New York: Teachers College Press.

Heller, S. S., Rice, J., Boothe, A., Sidell, M., Vaughn, K., Keyes, A., & Nagle, G. (2012). Social-emotional development, school readiness, teacher-child interactions, and classroom environment. Early Education and Development, 23, 919-944.

Heller, S. S., Boothe, A., Keyes, A., Nagle, G., Sidell, M., & Rice, J. (2011). Implementation of a mental health consultation model and its impact on early childhood teachers’ efficacy and competence. Infant Mental Health Journal, 32(2), 143-164.

Nagle, G. A. (2009). The economics of infant mental health. In C. Zeanah (Ed.), Handbook of infant mental health (3rd ed.). NY: Guilford Press.


Nagle, G., & Briggs, R. (2016, April). The Importance of Addressing Children’s Social-Emotional Development. National Academy for State Health Policy: Cross-Systems Collaboration for Children’s Social-Emotional Development, Chicago, IL.

Nagle, G., Grunewald, R., & Wallen, M. (2015, July). The Lifelong Impact of Early Life Experiences. Plenary Session: Midwestern Legislative Conference, Bismarck, ND.

Nagle, G., & Cabrera, N. (2015, April). Science of Learning, Part I. Education Writers Association 68th National Seminar, Chicago, IL.

Nagle, G. (2014, February). Risky Business: The First Three Years Last Forever. Legislative Leadership Institute on Child Development Research and Policy, St. Paul, MN.

Barnett, S., Dubno, J., Nagle, G., & Williams-Bishop, R. (2014, February). Financing Early Childhood Education: Research and Advocacy. Early Childhood Education Seminar – Education Writers Association, New Orleans, LA.

Nagle, G., & Dubno, J. (2013, December). Paying for Success in Early Childhood. NCSL Early Learning Fellows Program – Building on State Leadership in Early Childhood, Washington, D.C.

Nagle, G., & Dugger, R. (2013, September). Creative and Market-Based Strategies to Fund Investments in Early Childhood. National Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Investment (ReadyNation), Atlanta, GA.

Nagle, G., & Steier, A. (2013, May). Mental Health in Early Childhood: Addressing Adverse Experiences and the Return to Healthy Development. 2013 Harris Forum – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Fox, L., Kaufmann, R., Nagle, G., & Zachik, A. (2013, March). The Promise of Early Childhood Mental Health: Aligning Systems and Policies to Promote the Social Emotional Health of All Children. 26th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference, Tampa, FL.

Zeanah, C., & Nagle, G. (2012, September). The Science of Brain Development and Implications for Early Childhood Mental Health: Opportunities for Prevention, Early Intervention and Policy Development. Keynote Address: Virginia Early Childhood Mental Health Summit, Richmond, VA.

Keyes, A. W., & Nagle, G. (June, 2012). Focusing on Social-Emotional Development in the Assessment of Quality Early Childhood Education. Presented at Head Start’s 11th Annual National Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Nagle, G. (2012, March). The First Three Years of Life Last Forever: Building an Early Childhood System That Supports Early Childhood Mental Health. Keynote Address: Ninth Annual Addressing Challenging Behavior: National Training Institute on Effective Practices/Supporting Young Children’s Social and Emotional Development, Clearwater, FL.