St. Paul Public Schools Board Chair Marny Xiong, 31, dies after battle with COVID-19

St. Paul Public Schools Board Chair Marny Xiong died after battling COVID-19, family said Sunday.

According to her family and fellow board members, 31-year-old Marny Xiong died June 7 after she was hospitalized with coronavirus for several weeks.

Xiong's family started a GoFundMe in her name, writing, "Our hearts are in pieces as we share the news that our beloved daughter and sister, Marny Xiong, passed away on Sunday, June 7, 2020 following a month long courageous battle with the Coronavirus. We prepared a celebration for her return and waited, and waited but she never came home. We prayed and prayed for a miracle but none was granted."

"Marny will be remembered as an inspiring community organizer, a courageous leader and fierce champion for education, gender equity, and racial justice," her family wrote. "She was a selfless public servant who made the community’s problems her duty to solve. To those who knew her, Marny was more than a loving daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, a devoted friend and sister. She was beautiful; she was a book of generosity and fire."

Joint Statement from Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard and Vice Chair Jeanelle Foster on behalf of the Board of Education:

Our hearts are broken with the news of the passing of our friend, colleague and Board Chair Marny Xiong. There are no words that can reflect the loss that we, our school district and our community have suffered.

Those of us who were fortunate to know Marny and work with her have been inspired by her tireless efforts to support our students, fight for inclusion and never give in to those who would divide us. As a lifelong Saint Paul resident and SPPS graduate, Marny exemplified the very best of our schools and our community. She was a proud Hmong woman and a respected leader throughout the State of Minnesota.

Marny was passionate about uplifting students; she was focused on equity; and she never stopped her efforts to make sure all students and families were welcome and represented in SPPS. We will honor her by continuing her fight to break down and remove barriers to and within our educational system. Our deepest sympathies go out to Marny’s family and many friends during this very difficult time.

Each of us has learned and grown thanks to our relationship with Marny. Her spirit and her passion for student inclusion and achievement live on in each of us; may her light shine on in what we do for our students and how we treat those around us.