AD on leave, faces embezzlement charges

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — The new school year will include, at least temporarily, a new athletic director for the district. Trenton Public Schools Supt. Rodney Wakeham said that Anderson Elementary School principal Douglas Mentzer will step in as AD at least until the first day of school next week.

How long Mentzer will hold the position depends upon the outcome of embezzlement charges that were filed earlier this month against school and city employee Bret Woodley.

Woodley, 40, is on administrative leave without pay from his positions as Trenton High School assistant principal and district athletic director, a decision reached after he was arraigned Aug. 2 before 33rd District Court Judge James Kersten on one felony count of embezzlement. A not guilty plea was entered for Woodley, who also is a seasonal employee of Trenton Parks and Recreation and had worked at the Kennedy Aquatic Center.

According to Police Chief James Nardone, Woodley was charged with stealing money while working at the pool. Nardone did not disclose the amount of money that was allegedly embezzled — believed to be between $1,000 and $20,000 — and said it was a single incident. Felony embezzlement is punishable by up to five years in prison or fines in the amount of $10,000 or three times the amount stolen.

Nardone said the allegations were made last month and charges brought following an investigation.

Wakeham said that Woodley’s administrative leave status would remain in effect and will be re-evaluated as the court case proceeds. Mentzer, who had served as the district’s athletic director prior to Woodley’s appointment, was brought in, “to help get the fall athletics off the ground,” Wakeham said.

Last week Woodley waived a preliminary examination of the evidence in district court, and is scheduled to be arraigned on information Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court. Woodley was released on $5,000 personal bond.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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