The Public School System’s longest-serving special education staff passed away at the age of 62, after 31 years of serving the CNMI’s special needs students.
Suzanne W. Lizama, who fought a long battle with cancer, died last Sunday evening after her liver gave out from the amount of medication she was taking.
According to Robin Palacios, Lizama’s daughter and PSS Early Intervention Program director, her mother was a “warrior who fought hard for her staff and students.”
Lizama was an advocate for teacher aides to be included in the federally funded retention incentive program for educators.
Palacios said that PSS lost a great, kind-hearted person who had a strong passion to serve the community. Palacios credits her mother for her interest in getting a degree in education.
Lizama joined PSS in 1989 as a special education or SPED teacher. In the 1990s, she became director of special education, a position she held until she passed away.
Lizama is survived by her husband, Vicente, and two children, Palacios and Katherine Eusebio.
Lizama migrated to Saipan in 1959 when she was only a year old because her father worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, which maintained a field training station on the island until 1961.
Lizama attended Mount Carmel School and received her associate degree from Northern Marianas College. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Guam.
Lizama’s funeral service will be held on Saturday at San Antonio Church.
The service will serve as a rosary, a public viewing, and a Mass.