Terence Wilkins, the Red Bank Middle School principal indicted earlier this week in an alleged arson and insurance fraud scheme, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment in an Essex County courtroom today, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Wilkins was indicted with a middle school guidance counselor in Newark for plotting to have his leased car stolen and torched to avoid paying $9,000 in mileage overages, according to the charges.

According to a letter posted on the board of ed website by Superintendent Laura Morana, Maria Iozzi, head of the English as a Second Language Program, has been assigned as administrator in charge of the middle school. Wilkins’ status is scheduled to be discussed at a special meeting Monday at 7p, “at which time a final resolution of this matter will be accomplished,” Morana wrote.

She called the charges “shocking and distressing.”Download morana_letter.pdf

A former Red bank educator of the year, Wilkins’ name has been removed from the staff listing on the website.

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