How does one encompass the impact of a very special woman, colleague, and friend into 5 minutes or less? I was lucky enough to have help when writing this from Pat Moore, also a retired Director of Special Education from SCASD. Margaret was an amazing woman who not only impacted me on a professional level but also on a personal level. She was generous and giving of herself, her knowledge, and her caring for others.


Margaret Blizard came to the State College Area School District in the mid-1990s. Mark Klienle, Director of Special Education at that time, chaired the interview team when Margaret was interviewed. He recalls how impressed the team was with her wealth of expertise, her poise, and her calm demeanor. We were certainly fortunate to have Margaret accept the position of the school psychologist.


Assigned to several elementary schools, she was a welcome and valued addition to the school-based staff, as well as the department and the district. Margaret had a keen interest in the identification of, and programming for students on the autism spectrum. At that time, the district was facing the challenges of a growing population of students with autism and pervasive developmental delay. How fortunate we were to have Margaret as our resident expert to head the teams working with these children, their parents, and school staff. Her insight and understanding of Autism and how to diagnose, program, and support those on the spectrum provided a service and resource we and other districts lacked.


Margaret was instrumental in helping establish the first classroom in the school district for students with Autism. Additionally, her ability to listen, emphasize, and gently work with parents to assist them in understanding their child’s diagnosis, to accept the diagnosis, and to more comfortably navigate the ins and outs of special education were magical. Families sought her expertise and in some instances even moved their families to State College to take advantage of her knowledge and guidance. It is without question, Margaret was a guiding force in making the school district a leader in providing quality supports and services for students with autism and their families.


Margaret was a uniquely qualified member of school teams that support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. Her knowledge in the fields of mental health, learning, and behavior were instrumental to help children succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally.

Her competence with assessment and multidisciplinary evaluations enabled her to provide exceptional guidance. This expertise facilitated a clear understanding of the many and varied categories of exceptionality.


Perhaps Margaret’s strongest asset was her interpersonal skills. In working hands-on in the field of human behavior and learning one must, to be successful, know how to interact with a wide variety of people. Margaret possessed exceptional talent in this area. She worked closely with her colleagues to help them gain a better understanding and diagnosis of emotional disturbance, and the impact it can have on a child’s education, as one example. This was evident with every category of exceptionality as Margaret would always make herself available to those in need, be they children, teachers/paraprofessionals, administrators or parents. She was always available for consultation, collaboration, and planning. Margaret would always seek to understand as she valued each individual as a unique and special person.


The list is long, although a few of the things she and I shared on a personal level were weaving, reading, music, art, swimming, love of our family, and nature, and she shared her home and homeland with my family and me on two occasions. Knowing and working with Margaret was a gift, and she made me a better person with that knowledge.


Margaret was a dynamic school psychologist and treasured colleague and friend. She was truly a gentle soul, who was loyal and generous beyond measure. We who knew Margaret will treasure all of the funny asides, chuckles, and surprising flashes of Welsh wit and wisdom she shared over the years. Her giving nature touched all who knew and loved her. We and for all whom she touched are all the better for having shared time with Margaret. Wherever she may be, I am certain it is now a kinder, gentler, brighter, and loving place.