Helen May is the former Dean of the University of Otago College of Education. She began her career as a primary school teacher in the mid-1960s, worked in childcare in the 1970s, and began tertiary teaching in the 1980s. During the early 1990s she worked with Margaret Carr on the development of Te Whariki, New Zealand's first national curriculum for early childhood education. In 1995 she was appointed to the first New Zealand professorial chair in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University Wellington and in 2005 she was appointed Professor of Education at the University of Otago. She has published six books as sole author on the history and politics of early education.