It's a pretty safe bet Kim Budde is the only District 196 administrator who has a likeness of her own face carved in a chunk of butter.
Budde, who grew up on a dairy farm in Cold Spring and took over last week as an assistant principal at Rosemount High School, still has the butter face tucked away somewhere as a memento of her 1989 finish as runner-up to Princess Kay of the Milky Way. The rest of the butter bust, carved as Budde sat in a refrigerated booth at the State Fair that year, was used by relatives at Thanksgiving.
Budde credits growing up on a farm for teaching her the value of hard work. She credits growing up the oldest of six children for teaching her how to work with others to get things done. Both qualities, she said, have helped her get where she is today.
From Cold Spring, where she graduated from Rocori High School, Budde went to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree and taught band for a year at seven schools in a school district in Wisconsin Rapids. She taught for seven years at Valley View Middle School in Edina while earning a master's degree from St. Mary's, then took a job as an education specialist at St. Thomas Academy.
Budde said teaching appealed to her from a young age.
"As young as I can remember I played school," she said. "Maybe that's (the result of) being the oldest of six as well.
"The bottom line is I love kids. I love their energy. I love their excitement. It keeps me young."
Budde spent two years as dean of students at Edina High School -- essentially an internship where she learned the finer points of being an administrator -- and last year had the same title at Lakeville North High School. She was hired at RHS earlier this summer to replace Rita Gundacker, who retired this year.
Among other things, Budde will be responsible for RHS's fine and performing arts programs. That fact as much as anything is what attracted Budde to the job. With her music background, she said, the position felt like a natural fit.
"That, for me, is like a dream come true," she said. "I can express my passion in a leadership role."
Budde is still settling in at RHS. Still learning her way around the school and figuring out exactly what her responsibilities will be.
Once she gets things sorted out Budde would like to make building relationships between RHS and the rest of the community a priority. She talks about working with the Rosemount City Council and with civic organizations and about arranging a tour of Rosemount for teachers.
"I really want to be a spokesperson or someone who helps people realize there are success stories here," Budde said. "I like to celebrate the success.
"I'm excited. I'm hoping to honor the tradition but I'm also excited about bringing some new perspectives and new ideas."