Lisa Zahn Crooks

Black Bob Elementary School
Olathe, Kansas
Total years as a classroom teacher: 21

“Students in my classroom are like soft clay…with thoughtful and
skilled artistry, the impressions I leave, as a result of my life, can
make a loving, lasting, and memorable imprint on them.” – Lisa Zahn

Lisa Zahn Crooks’ educational career began as a teacher of students
who were hearing impaired at the Kansas State School for the Deaf where
she taught a variety of grade levels.

She is the author of Munchable Math where she combines the students’
love of food with appetizing activities to enhance mathematics, and
edible experiments in science which create positive, hands-on learning
experiences for her students.

Her students are involved in community outreach efforts that include
the development of Paws for the Cause, a program that develops and
promotes environmental awareness. She and her students also formed a
Good Bears of the World “Cub Den” where teddy bears are given to people
going through difficult times, particularly children and senior
citizens. These outreach efforts have ignited both a passion for
learning within each student, as well as instilled a compassion for

Crooks believes that by touching the lives of her students and fellow
colleagues, she is able to transform the aptitudes of the children of
today and the teachers of tomorrow.

“Lisa is the type of teacher that students dream about, parents pray
for, and that fellow staff members aspire to be like.” –David Kearney,
Principal, Sunnyside Elementary School, Olathe, Kansas

“Ms. Crooks makes learning exciting! Every time we gave a bear to
someone I got a special feeling in my heart. Because of you I want to
grow up and be a teacher.” –Jessica, former student

“It is truly rare to find a teacher who is so knowledgeable of
educational issues, national standards, and appropriate instructional
strategies, and is then able to incorporate all of this knowledge into
the exciting, caring learning environment that Lisa creates.” –Terry
Shaw, Ed.D., National Coordinator of Middle Level FOSS Professional



Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education, Kansas State University


Master of Science, Education of the Hearing Impaired, University of Kansas

Teaching Experience

1988- present

Fourth Grade, Olathe Public Schools, Olathe, Kansas


Math Methods, Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas


NSF Math Grant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas


Grades 2 – 12, Kansas State School for the Deaf, Olathe, Kansas

Special Recognition


Author, Connecting Math & Literature, Published by Creative Teaching Press


Kansas Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist


Christa McAuliffe Fellow


Author, Munchable Math, Published by Creative Teaching Press


National Board Certification


Author, Color Me Learning, Published by Pieces of Learning


Contributing Author, The Best of Good Apples, Published by Good Apple


Who’s Who in American Educators


Presidential Award fo rExcellence in Teaching


Kansas Medical Society Award for Excellence in Teaching