Larissa Gonchar, Principal

Larissa Gonchar rgp newman lasik LARISSA GONCHAR is the principal of Community Outreach Academy Elementary Charter School. She believes that every child deserves the best education and she strives to provide as many opportunities to learn as possible in her school. She is a visionary leader that takes pride in her staff and community. Larissa moved from Belarus in 1992. She brought her passion and experience to the US along with the dream of serving the community in the most diverse society in the world. She devoted herself educating the local community and children using her ability to organize, lead, and bring a sense of unity. In 2001 Larissa accepted a coordinator position at California Charter Academy. During her assignment she expanded the school by attracting highly qualified teachers and increasing student enrollment more than 200%. Larissa Gonchar has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education, two AA Degrees in Accounting & Bookkeeping, and earned her Finance/Business Credential and Administrative Credential from the California State University of Sacramento. In 2004 Larissa became principal of Community Outreach Academy where she channeled all her expertise, professionalism, and love for teaching into bringing quality education to children of all levels. She is a role model for the students, teachers, and parents alike. She creates a positive and productive environment at Community Outreach Academy allowing everybody to reach their potential.

Tatyana Kisel, Vice Principal


My name is Tatyana Kisel, and I am in my second year as a vice principal at Community Outreach Academy Elementary. My job is to work with teachers, students, parents, and members of the community to integrate effective instruction into all classes. I have seven years of teaching experience and two years of instructional coaching. I hold a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a preliminary administrative credential from California State University, Sacramento. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University. My belief is that to fulfill our nation’s commitment to the future of our children, the central focus of educational leadership must be on successfully transforming schools and school systems into high-quality organizations committed to high performance for all children. Implicit within this focus is the leader’s responsibility to create a safe, equitable, and just environment that maintains a consistent emphasis on continuous improvement.  

I have two daughters. In addition to spending time with my daughters, I love painting, reading books, writing, coloring, and swinging on swings. I love to travel with my husband. I regain my sanity by visiting the ocean and taking walks at the beach. If I am not playing with my daughters, you can find me cooking, gardening, crafting, working out in the gym, or simply looking for and brainstorming ideas for my school, Community Outreach Academy.

Michael Serdi, Vice Principal


MICHAEL SERDI is the Vice Principal at Community Outreach Academy. Michael’s main role as Vice Principal is to work with all classified staff: school office manager, parent liaison, student support specialist, administrative assistant/clerks/registrars, para educators, playground assistants, custodians, ASES para educators to ensure that our students are receiving a rounded education, not just in the classroom but in every other area of development.  Michael also works hand-in-hand with our Site Managers on student discipline issues and to facilitate a safe and effective learning environment.  Michael strongly believes in the supervision of the school as an entirety, which includes the managing of maintenance and the security of the school premises. Michael obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the Odessa National Law Academy in Ukraine.  He obtained his Career Technical Education Credential (CTE) through San Diego County Office of Education.  Michael has over 15 years of experience in management and is a great asset to COA.  Michael is married to his beautiful wife, Katerina and they have twin girls, who are now 13 years old.  In his free time, Michael likes to spend time outdoors with his family, playing sports and enjoying the great outdoors.  Michael is a very professional, hardworking, dedicated, passionate, supportive, and persistent person, which makes him a wonderful leader here at COA Elementary.

Nicole Strobel, Curriculum Coach / K-1 grades

noid1y01153 Hello, my name is Nicole Strobel. I graduated from Sacramento State in 2007 with a B.A in Child Development; I also obtained my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2012 from Brandman University. My passions include teaching, helping others and spending time my husband. This is my fourth year at COA and I am very excited for my new position as the K/1 curriculum coach. 

Daniel Coonan, Curriculum Coach / 2-3 grades

filename 1 Daniel has been an elementary school teacher for ten years.  He has experience teaching grades 2, 3, and 4.  For the last five years, Daniel has been teaching at Higher Learning Academy, a Gateway Community Charters school.  There, he was a BTSA mentor and a lead teacher.  Daniel recently earned his administrative credential and is currently working on a master’s degree in educational leadership from American College of Education.  He is grateful and excited to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful teachers of COA!

Outside of education, Daniel loves spending time with his wife Sarah, a fellow educator and curriculum coach, and his dog Olive, a German shepherd.  He loves music and the San Francisco Giants.  He has recently become more interested in do-it-yourself home improvement projects.

Daniel Diego, Curriculum Coach / 4-6 grades


My name is Daniel Diego. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in history from the University of California, Davis and my Master’s degree and Teaching Credential from the University of Phoenix. I am currently finishing my Doctoral degree in education at the University of the Pacific where I am studying the intersections of Ecojustice education, social justice, Next Generation Science, and the California Social Studies Framework. I've lived in and around the Sacramento area my entire life and this is my tenth year with COA and second year as the Curriculum Coach for fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. I believe that school should be memorable, meaningful, and fun. I am very passionate about education and have published four articles on the topic. In my spare time I am usually working on music, reading, painting, exploring nature, gardening, or spending time with my wife.

Alex Banashko, Site Manager / Skvarla Site


My name is Aleksander Banashko. I have been with Community Outreach Academy School since 2010. I achieved my Master’s Degree in Taxation and Auditing in 2008. Shortly after that, I received the incredible opportunity to work with Community Outreach Academy Elementary School as a site manager at Skvarla Site. I am very thankful and blessed to work with such a wonderful team; I love the healthy work environment here at COA. I believe that good education is significant for all of our students, and I am here to help them achieve their very best! I am married and have three beautiful children. My two oldest boys attend school at COA, and I’m proud to see them grow and learn in such a wonderful environment. As a parent, I understand the importance of educational growth for our students, so I consider it a privilege to work for the students at Community Outreach Academy Elementary School.

Roman Yurtsan, Site Manager / Rafferty Sites A & B

Roman Yurtsan My name is ROMAN YURTSAN. I obtained my Masters from Riga Polytechnic University, Latvia. Prior to migrating to California in 1998, lived and worked in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. My tenure with GCC began in 2003 and since that time I have been involved in all stages of GCC's development into the exceptional education institution it is today. Currently, I am in charge of supervising sites Rafferty A, Rafferty B and Camellia (grades 3, 4 6) that include administration of school functions, safety, school discipline, interrelation between staff, students and parents and ensuring that GCC is a safe and productive educational environment. I am very blessed to have around me such incredible staff members and colleagues. And I consider it a great privilege to be a part of GCC believing that each one of us here is making a world of difference one child at a time. Together with my wife Olga we raised four beautiful children (daughter and three boys). I love the outdoors and prefer to spend my spare time in the gorgeous Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sometimes while climbing up the steep face of a mountain and watching my youngest son following right behind me, I catch myself thinking about how important it is for us in this life to forge the right path for those that follow. A path that they would want to take. A noble path that leads to higher purposes. And I hope that the path forged by our school will leave in the minds and hearts of every child a wealth of knowledge, integrity, morals and honorable principles based on traditional values. This is worth living and striving for.

Benjamin Nesteruk, Site Manager / Pavilion & Dudley

noid1y01392 BENJAMIN NESTERUK (known as Mr. Ben) Mr. Nesteruk (known as Mr. Ben), has been with Community Outreach Academy for six years. He started out as a Site Manager at COA Middle School working with 7th and 8th grade students and their families. Mr. Ben enjoys working with students and helping them find the appropriate solutions to succeed academically and grow individually to their best potential. Mr. Ben takes pride in serving the community. It is his pleasure to be a part of  life-changing experiences for each COA student. Mr. Nesteruk is a loving husband and a father of three children. His personal experience with the teenage years of his own children help Mr. Ben to support parents who are new to challenges of transitional years in their child’s life. On a personal side, Benjamin always looks at life from a  positive perspective. He enjoys fishing with his boys and spending time with his family. A good cup of coffee with his wife every morning starts his day on a positive note. This man values family, relationships, and honesty. He serves as an active leader at a small local community church and strives to be a positive influence and an example for people around him.

Ivan Leshchuk, Parent Liaison

Ivan LESHCHUK IVAN LESHCHUK has been working for Community Outreach Academy since 2005. As a parent liaison, he performs a variety of tasks in supporting families, teachers, administration and community participants in their efforts to assist students in achieving educational excellence and bridging the gap between home, school, and community.  He is passionate about education and the charter school movement specifically. He strongly believes that all schools should maintain a sustainable balance of quality education in academics, character education, art, music, physical education and enrichment programs. Ivan Leshchuk has many skills and experiences gained from his years of work at different educational and scientific organizations (schools, colleges, universities, mental health hospitals, community-based organizations) in the former Soviet Union as well as in the United States. Besides being a lecturer at universities, scientific researcher, and getting a Ph.D, he's also been a prison chaplain, mental health consultant, an author of books and newspaper articles, and both guest and host of radio/TV programs on educational topics. His active involvement in education and his commitment to the community over many years has given him the knowledge and experience to be a valuable asset to our school and community. He is married and has three children who are outstanding students of Gateway Community Charter Schools.

Daniella Kalinyuk, Student Support Specialist


Daniella Kalinyuk is the Student Support Specialist at Community Outreach Academy (COA). Although she is just starting at her new position this year, Daniella is a highly qualified individual who earned her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Sacramento and has many years of experience working with young children in the educational sphere. She has worked with children in a classroom setting in the public school system, with large groups at her local church, and with students on an individual basis for more than 10 years.  Daniella was born in the United States to Ukrainian parents, grew up attending a Russian church, and received her education in the American school system; she is well-traveled and loves meeting new people of various backgrounds and cultures. As the eldest to immigrant parents, she understands the struggles of our English Learners and the cultural dynamics of our immigrant families. Daniella is passionate about seeing students thrive at COA Elementary. She is determined to make sure every student feels supported and knows that they have the ability to succeed and excel in whatever they put their mind to. She understands how big of an impact parents and other outside influences can have on a student’s growth, and wants to see a thriving environment at home and at school for every student.Outside of work, Daniella loves Sundays with her family and day trips to the coast. She enjoys journaling on her backyard porch swing, shooting wedding photography, and teaching private piano lessons in her spare time.

Oksana Filatov, Administrative Assistant

noid1y01374 Hello, my name is OKSANA FILATOV. I am incredibly thrilled and blessed with this opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful family here at Community Outreach Academy Elementary School. I feel blessed to work with so many talented children, dedicated staff, supportive parents and caring community each and every day. I was born and raised in former Soviet Union and in 1991 I moved to Sacramento, CA with my parents and my 4 siblings. When I was first offered the position at a small charter school in Sacramento I took a big leap of faith. Somehow I knew that it was an opportunity of a lifetime for me, so I took the job and ran with it! The 2014-2015 school year marks my 15th year in the Public/ Charter Schools District and I love every moment of it.  Working with the parents and students has been the most rewarding part of my job. I've made many friends over the years and care deeply for them and their families. I've worked with students and have watched them grow from small children to high school graduates, getting married and becoming parents of their own children. Being a part of their life for so many years is rewarding and makes me feel as if I am a part of their families. When I am not working I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters Gabriella and Rebecca. Among my passions are music, hiking, traveling and reading a good book. I look forward to another successful school year and continuing to grow as a person and a child of God here at COA.

Vita Matviychuk, Administrative Assistant

noid1q01040My name is Vita Matviychuk.  In 2014, I was given an amazing opportunity to join Community Outreach Academy after working as an Office Manager for a Psychiatric Outpatient facility for close to 9 years.  It has been an amazing journey so far, and I feel so blessed to be working with such a wonderful team of people and the most incredible students.  I was born in Ukraine and our parents moved our family of 6 children to the US in 1990, when I was just 7 years old.  Coming to the USA at such a young age has given me the perspective that, I feel, is so important to relate to our students who might be struggling to transition into the “American” way of life.  I love working at COA and feel so fortunate to be able to make a positive impact on our students’ lives.  When I am not at work, I love spending time with my wonderful husband and three amazing children: Milana, Matthew and Malachi.  I enjoy walking and exploring big cities and admiring the beautiful architecture.

Oksana Ganzyuk, Registrar

noid1y11051 OKSANA GANZYUK has been working at COA for over 10 years as a registrar. As an immigrant from Ukraine, finding a job amid the culture she knows and helping those who like her are looking for a new beginning, just made sense. In addition to being a mom of three and a housewife, she quickly became someone on whom others rely on. She is someone the community trusts, someone the community depends on, and someone who is always willing to help.  She loves what she does and her job has become her way of life.

Nadezhda Nesteruk

Nadezhda Nesteruk Registrar Clerk COA Elementary Dudley site Hello, my name is Nadezhda Nesteruk. This is my fourth year with Community Outreach Academy. It has been a wonderful experience to be part of Community Outreach Academy, and I love everything about my current job position as registrar.   COA is a great place for our students, families, and staff. I have been married for over 20 years and we have one daughter and two sons. It has been a great journey for our family gaining new experiences through the teenage years of my daughter and son. I value my relationship with my kids and find it very important to be part of their lives at all times.  I really enjoy spending time at home gardening and making my house beautiful. It is my wish for everyone to have a good, enriching school year of new lessons for lifetime.