Lola J. May made many outstanding contributions to the evolution of mathematics education. She witnessed the progression of education over periods of dramatic change, including such important national developments as the "new math" of the 1950s and 1960s, the "back to basics" movement of the 1970s, and the emergence of the NCTM Standards in the late 1980s. From 1962 to 1964, she led efforts to train teachers and parents by hosting 20 sessions on the subject for NBC television network.
May was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1923 and received her education through high school in that city. In 1945 she received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin which qualified her to teach mathematics. After three years of teaching high school, she moved to Illinois to work on her master's degree at Northwestern University. While she was there, she taught at the children's school of the National College of Education. In 1964 she received a Ph.D. in mathematics education from Northwestern University.
After years of teaching and consulting, she became a well-known nationwide speaker on mathematics education, especially at NCTM national and regional conferences. She wrote mathematics textbooks and published many articles to assist mathematics teachers in the schools, including a regular column for Teaching K-8 , titled "Grade Teacher." In 1994, she released a video series, Lola May's Fundamental Math.
Lola J. May died on March 13, 2007.