More than 500 parents, students and school and community leaders turned out Sunday afternoon to help dedicate the new elementary school in the Red Lion Area School District in York County in honor of retired superintendent, Dr. Larry J. Macaluso, a native of New Columbus.

Macaluso served the district for 20 years - three as assistant superintendent (1987-1990) and 17 as superintendent . He retired on June 30, 2007.

The school, which houses 744 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, opened in September to address the district's growing student population. The $23.3 million, 113,000-square-foot project had the lowest per-square-foot cost of any school building constructed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during 2008, according to Project Manager Anthony Colestock.

Macaluso began his educational career in the Allentown City School District - 1974-1987 first as an elementary school teacher at the Jackson school, then as principal of the Dodd, Cleveland and Washington schools..

He earned his doctor of education degree at Temple University, his master's degree at Lehigh University and his bachelor's degree at East Stroudsburg University. He is a 1970 graduate of Panther Valley High School.

Macaluso introduced numerous innovations to the Red Lion District. He also piloted the district through the wrenching psychological aftermath of two attacks - one by a machete-wielding man who slashed an elementary school principal and several children and the other by a gun-toting student who killed the junior high school principal, then turned the gun on himself in front of horrified students and staff in the school cafeteria.

Red Lion Superintendent, Dr. Frank R. Herron, praised Macaluso for his leadership and service to the district. He said Macaluso's leadership in the aftermath of the attacks contributed significantly to the district's and community's healing process. He also cited Macaluso for his commitment in making the education and well-being of students his number one priority.

Kitty C. Reinholt, the school's principal, unveiled a portrait of Macaluso, which will be hung in a prominent location to acknowledge the person for whom the school is named.

A contingent of students presented Macaluso with a scrapbook of photos taken of students working and playing in the new facility. Among the students who spoke was Macaluso's granddaughter, Gwen, who attends the new school.

The York County Commissioners presented him with a resolution that acknowledged his contributions to the school district and the community.

In his acceptance remarks, Macaluso challenged the members of the board of education, administration and the teaching and support staffs to excel in their respective roles for the benefit of the students.