Dr. James D Gates

dr. james gates
Jim was born in 1927 in East Cleveland, Ohio. His formal education consisted of a Bachelor's degree from Hiram College in 1951, a Master's degree from Columbia University in 1956, and a Doctorate of Education from The George Washington University.

Jim started his career in 1951 teaching in the Maple Heights City School District in Ohio. In 1961, he moved to Washington, DC, to work for The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). He accepted the position of Executive Director of NCTM in 1961. Some of his contributions to mathematics education include his service as a university lecturer and his role in the development of the Center for Educational Associations in Reston, Virginia.

He retired in 1995. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from NCTM in 1998. During retirement, he consulted on multiple educational projects; such as the Junior Engineering Technical Society, the MATHCOUNTS Foundation, and the Mathematical Association of America's Committee for the Mathematical Education of Teachers. He was also devoted to Rotary International and a contributing member of the Reston Rotary Club.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Carol, of 58 years. He is survived by three sons, David; Keith and wife, Lynn; Bob; sister, Marion Palumbo; grandchildren, Colin and wife, Jenna, and Chelsea and fiancé, Austin.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dr. Gates was tremendous at NCTM when I was a Board member and supportive as a Past Executive Director when I was President. He will be missed by me and many others.

  2. Jim was my first personal contact with the NCTM headquarters. I had been a member since 1967 but had never attended an annual meeting. As Executive Director, he sent out a note about attending the Houston Annual and mentioned, somewhat pointedly, but yet casually, that if a person DIDN’T bother to ask for school board support to attend, then that meant that the person had already chosen to answer for them. Needless to say, I did ask my Board and they did say “yes” and the rest was history that eventually led to the greatest honor of my life from NCTM. I was teaching in illinois when Jim sent that note. I moved to Ohio in 1973 and stayed there until 1996. In Nevada now, but still remember and cherish the closeness of the Ohio bunch in mathematcis education.

  3. Jim was the model for executive directors of educational organizations. He adjusted to each new president, enhancing their strengths and covering their weaknesses. How fortunate I was to serve with him and to know Carol. To the three sons—you had special parents. Mary Montgomery Lindquist, President NCTM 1992-94

  4. Jim was such a dedicated Rotarian! We are so grateful for his lifetime of service to the Reston Rotary Club and the District. Pat Williams, Rotary Club of Herndon

  5. I’m grateful that I got a chance to know and work with Dr. Gates during my time as one of NCTM’s headquarters staff. He will be missed by many.

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