2018-19 Board of Trustees


Howard Rodgers, President

Howard is a Wealth Management Specialist and has more than 12 years of experience in the financial services industry. His mission is to narrow the wealth gap while creating generational wealth for middle-income families. He specializes in portfolio management and holds Series 7, 63, and insurance licenses.

Howard came to Raymond James in 2012 through its acquisition of Morgan Keegan, which he joined in 2010. Earlier in his career, he served as a mutual fund trade associate with Edward Jones & Company. He also held the position of Accounting Associate with Capital One Southcoast Capital.

He graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2004 with a Bachelors in Accounting. A firm believer in continuing education, he enhances his experience by participating in various personal development courses.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Howard currently resides in the Gentilly Woods Area of New Orleans. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Lovie, who is a Clinical Pharmacist, and their children, Julian and Jackson.  When he is not working with clients, Howard enjoys family time, playing golf, listening to jazz and finding new restaurants. In addition, he is a parishioner of St. Gabriel the Archangel Church.


Larissa Muetzel, Vice President

Originally from a small town near Moscow in Russia, Larissa Muetzel moved to the United States in 2001. Larissa received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Russian State Agrarian University in Moscow. Larissa joined the Young Leadership Council (YLC) in August 2008 as the Director of Finance & Administration and in December 2015 Larissa became a CFO for Ernst Café, Inc.  Larissa acts as the Treasurer for the Toledano Place COA, a position she has held since May 2005.  In 2010 Larissa successfully completed Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program.  In 2014 Larissa became a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

Larissa resides in the Irish Channel with her husband, Brandon, who works for a local non-profit organization, Energy Wise.  Together they enjoy traveling and entertaining friends and family at their home.


Lena Zaitseva McCloskey, Treasurer
Lena is Vice President of Deposit Products for IBERIABANK, responsible for the proactive development, implementation, on-going enhancement, and analysis of retail and small business deposit products, as well as setting goals and strategies to achieve corporate objectives within the retail and small business line of business. Prior to IBERIABANK, Lena was Vice President of Citigroup Treasury Investments and completed Citi’s Financial Management Associate Leadership Program, designed to create a pipeline of future leaders with experience in multiple Finance disciplines. She started her career as an auditor with Ernst & Young in New York and Moscow.

Lena has a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and she received a Bachelor of Arts from Franklin & Marshall College after studying in Germany and Bulgaria. Lena was born and raised in Almaty, Kazakhstan and came to the United States for the first time in 2001 as a high school exchange student through the George Soros Foundation Grant.


Freda Smith, Secretary

As a mother, wife, and educator, Mrs. Freda Smith is a mission-driven advocate for positive change and empowerment. Mrs. Smith’s educational vision is to provide all students and families with a world-class education by eliminating the achievement gaps between race and class; hence developing globally competitive citizens that sustain beyond the classroom and contribute to the growth of our community.
Mrs. Smith is currently a school principal with over 10 years of experience in education, building strong teams, identifying strategic issues and then implementing innovative and research-based solutions for improvement. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Education Administration from Prairie View A& M University. As a board member, Mrs. Smith will support the International School of Louisiana in Educational Policies, Strategic Planning, Public Advocacy, and Leadership.
Freda was raised in Houston, Texas before relocating to New Orleans in 2009 where she married Mr. Chad Smith. Together they are raising 2 beautiful children. She is an active member of the ISL PTO since 2015.

Brenda Richard – Montgomery, Member

Brenda Richard-Montgomery is the Vice President of Secure Patient Delivery, LLC, a family-owned medical transportation business moving psychiatric patients throughout the State.  She is formally Vice President of Project Development for Providence Community Housing, LLC, a New Orleans based, nonprofit housing and community development agency where she coordinated rental and homeowner projects.

Having spent a number of years working in local government, Richard-Montgomery has spearheaded economic and business development; tourism and museum; and community and housing development initiatives, receiving the Audrey Nelson Award and an Excellence in Government Award.  Prior to joining Providence Community Housing, she served as Vice President and Program Manager for Capital One’s Corporate Citizenship Department and handled CRA outreach and business development activities in Louisiana and Texas.

Among her activities, Richard-Montgomery has been affiliated with UNITY of Greater New Orleans, the Neighborhood Development Foundation, the National Community Development Association, the New Orleans Neighborhood Collaborative, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission, Community Development Capital, and others.

She received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  She is married and has two sons.



Heather Kirk, Member


Marcus Alexander, Member

Marcus Alexander is a Licensed Professional Counselor and CEO of Alexander Mental Wellness Group which services individuals and couples in Southeast Louisiana with relationship therapy.  Marcus earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Valdosta State University located in Valdosta, GA and a graduate of Walden University with his Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  


Marcus enlisted in the Air Force and worked for several Fortune 500 companies for more than 15 successful years.  Marcus moved to New Orleans in 2008 and married to his wife, Camille, who currently works as the Director of Renew Therapeutic Program. He has three kids and enjoys working out, movies, and spending time with family.


Grant Ligon, Member

Grant Ligon was a long-time member of the ISL community and Board when his daughter went to school there.  He is a retired Financial Analyst who is actively involved in real estate investing.  Grant received his undergraduate degree at Northern Arizona University and his Masters in Finance at the University of New Orleans.  He enjoys traveling the world with his wife, reading, playing music with his band, and looking for ways to make positive things happen in life.  A previous Board member at ISL, he is very proud of the school grew from where it began in Mid-City and looking forward to participating in its continued progress in the future.



Chad Rice, Member


To contact the Board of Trustees, please e-mail trustees@isl-edu.org