- School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award (2013)
David A. Lepkojus is a long-time teacher and administrator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Many Farms, Navajo Nation, AZ. While at Indiana University, Lepkojus was accepted into the School of Education's Native American Student Teaching Project, founded by Dr. James Mahan. He completed his student teaching at Many Farms Junior High School on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. In October of 1974, Lepkojus was hired as a Biology and Environmental Science teacher at Many Farms High School where he inspired and led students over the next 38 years.
During his career Lepkojus received many awards for his teaching and administrative leadership from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Navajo Nation, including a citation from President Ronald Reagan for outstanding instruction in environmental studies. Of more importance than personal awards are the academic achievements that Native American students made under his leadership. Innovative programs developed by Lepkojus, such as the Freshman Academy, The Computer Assisted Learning Center, The Alternative High School, The Saturday Academy, and The Agricultural Farming Project, reduced drop-out rates, improved academic achievement, increased graduation rates, and improved educational and career opportunities for Native American students. Many Farms High School, under the guidance of Lepkojus, was one of only two Native American high schools in the U.S. to consistently make Adequate Yearly Progress under "No Child Left Behind."
Lepkojus was born in Detroit, MI in 1947. Soon after his birth his family moved to a family farm near Salamonia, IN and later relocated to Peru, IN. Upon graduation from Peru Senior High School in 1965 Lepkojus was drafted into the United States Army. After completing his service in the Army, he entered Indiana University and graduated in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in Earth Science. Lepkojus also holds a master's degree from both Western New Mexico University and Northern Arizona University.
Lepkojus is now retired from teaching. He lives in Colorado, runs a vegetable farm, enjoys visits from his three Native American daughters, prospects for gold, and is completing his first book.