A Hmong parent and cultural educator whose family has endured tragedy was appointed by the St. Paul school board Monday to temporarily fill the vacancy left by the death of Chairwoman Marny Xiong.
Jim Vue was tapped to serve on the board until a special election for the seat is held Nov. 3. But in an unexpected move, he told his new colleagues he plans to ask voters then to make the assignment permanent.
Xiong, 31, died June 7 of COVID-19. She was in the third year of a term ending in December 2021.
Last month, the school board issued a call for applicants to the temporary post and set the election. At that time, Board Member Steve Marchese said it was hoped that the person who was named would agree not to run in November — lest the board be perceived as tipping the electoral scales in his or her favor.
But Marchese ended up casting one of the four votes that Vue needed to win the appointment — action that came on the fourth ballot. Vue was part of a field of 16 applicants that included three former St. Paul school board members.
Vue, 40, works as a Hmong program facilitator for the St. Paul nonprofit In Progress and is a former member of the district’s Hmong Parent Advisory Council. His selection ensures the Asian community — the district’s largest demographic — still is represented on the seven-member board.
Three years ago, Vue’s 6-year-old daughter drowned in Lake Elmo. He told board members he was ready to walk with them in hardship and grief over Xiong’s loss.
Filings for the permanent post open Tuesday and close Aug. 11.