Lola May made many outstanding contributions to the evolution of mathematics education. Her motivational presentations, wise counsel, and sense of humor were unmatched.
May received her B.S. in mathematics and science at the University of Wisconsin in 1945. She later earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. In addition to teaching at numerous public schools and colleges, May was a mathematics consultant for Winnetka Public Schools from 1960 to 1998. Her daily teaching in classrooms there made her a credible resource for teachers of all levels.
As an author, May wrote a methods textbook, co-authored an elementary school series and a teacher resource book, and contributed monthly articles to
She developed videotapes, film strips, audiocassettes, and students' audiovisual programs for teaching mathematics.
In the 1960s, May hosted 20 sessions on the "new math" for parents and teachers on NBC television. This launched her public speaking career. May spoke annually at conferences of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM), as well as at conferences in all 50 states and around the world.
May earned many awards, including the NCTM Lifetime Achievement Award (1995) and the Northwestern Alumni Merit Award (1999). In 2003, she was included in the NCTM Oral History Project.
Lola May died in 2007 at age 83.