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


Dr. Tatyana Kisel is a Vice Principal at Community Outreach Academy, Elementary. Her job is to work with teachers, students, parents, and members of the community to integrate effective instruction into all classes. Dr. Kisel has seven years of teaching experience and two years of instructional coaching.  She holds a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Leadership as well as an administrative credential.  Her 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.  

Dr. Kisel have two daughters and one son.  Traveling with her husband is one of her favorite thing to do.   She regains her sanity by visiting the ocean and taking walks at the beach. If Dr. Kisel is not playing with her children, you can find her cooking, gardening, crafting, working out, or simply looking for and brainstorming ideas for her school, Community Outreach Academy.

Michael Serdi, Vice Principal

noid1q01180MICHAEL 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.

Katherine Mickela, Curriculum Coach / K-2 grades

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Katherine Mickela has had a passion of working in education and curriculum since the age of 18. She decided to pursue her educational career at CSU Sacramento where she majored in Liberal Studies and was in a blended credentialing program. She received her multiple subject credential as well as supplemental credentials in 2008. After receiving her credentials she taught at various schools, ran her own tutoring program and then continued her passion here at COA. She was a lead teacher as well as third grade teacher for 5 years before pursuing this amazing opportunity as a curriculum coach. She believes in cross curriculum alignment as well as being able to vary every lesson to help students reach their fullest potential. Katherine is married to her husband Christopher and they have an amazing little boy named John. In Katherine’s spare time she loves to cook, paint, kayak, go to baseball games, and spend time with her family and friends.

Nicole Strobel, Curriculum Coach / 3 grades


Nicole Strobel is currently in her 8th year with COA and started as one of our  Kindergarten teachers.  Nicole has been a Curriculum Coach with COA for 4 years, she is currently in her 5th year. She coached Kindergarten and First grade for her first 4 years in this position.  This year is her first year coaching 2nd and 3rd grade. She is excited to work with each of these teams and looks forward to supporting them and their students. She is continuing her role as the Reading Intervention, Math Intervention, and ELD coach as well. This year she also added RSP to her list of teachers she supports.

Nicole has had a passion for education ever since she started working with children at the age of 17. She holds an A.A in Liberal Arts, a B.A in Child Development, a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and is currently enrolled in an Administrative Leadership program in hopes to become a Vice Principal in the future.  She not only holds responsibilities at COA but also at the District level, Nicole is the Teacher Induction District Coordinator as well as a Teacher Induction Mentor for new teachers within GCC. She is also one of the district's Tier 3 GLAD trainers. She loves to learn and to continuously challenge herself. 

Nicole has a passion for COA, her goal is to help everyone at COA succeed. She could see herself staying at COA forever, in fact, this is one of her goals. 

When Nicole is not working or going to school, she enjoys spending time with her husband Ryan and 8 pets. She has 4 dogs- Bella, Mia, Chloe and Sofie; and 4 birds- Maui, Mai, Ellie, and Grae. 

Daniel Diego, Curriculum Coach / 4-5 grades

Daniel Diego

Daniel Diego is in his 12th year at COA and fourth year as Curriculum Coach for grades 4 – 6.  His experiences in education include teaching in grades 2, 4, and 5 and holding the lead teacher position in 2nd grade from 2010 – 2015. Daniel has participated in a number of educational trainings and professional development with certifications in GLAD (tier 3 trainer), Capturing Kids Hearts, Next Generation Science (trainer), Teach Like a Champion (trainer), Project Lead the Way, and Cognitive Coaching. His accomplishments in education also include the publication of 4 articles in peer reviewed academic journals, presenting at the California Council for Teacher Education, and currently working on a phenomenological study of science teachers for his doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction through the University of the Pacific. He has a strong passion for education and the belief that, in order to capture the hearts and minds of students, school should be meaningful, memorable, and fun. In his spare time, he can be found playing music with friends and coworkers, reading, or spending time in nature with his wife Sarah and two cats Vinny and Ziggy.

Svitlana Muzychenko, ASES Supervisor

Svitlana Muzychenko

Svitlana Muzychenko has been with COA Elementary since 2014 and has excelled in her role as the ASES (After School) Program Supervisor since January of 2018. She has a special ability to bring people together and empower them to succeed. Because of this, she’s a powerful leader to the ASES Staff. Svitlana’s passion is to serve the students at COA Elementary and make sure they have the best possible environment and resources to learn and grow. She strives to constantly implement new ideas for the students enrolled in the ASES program. She loves to make people happy, help them to reach their goals, and inspire them to keep growing—students and her team alike. Working at COA is more than a job to her—it’s an integral part of her life, and she could not imagine not doing what she does! Outside of work, she enjoys spending evenings at home cooking with her husband, hosting and party planning, and traveling.

Mila Zazhitskiy, Site Manager / Skvarla Site


Mila Zazhitskiy has been with Community Outreach Academy since 2014. She considers it to be a great privilege to work for an organization which encourages every individual to celebrate their differences and ideas. An organization which strongly encourages personal and professional growth. She is thrilled to be Skvarla Site Manager and to be a part of a team which supports, motivates and moves forward in unity to create the best educational environment for the students. Mila has built strong trusting relationships with many COA families over the years, working at the Rafferty site. There, she had the chance to interact closely with students and their families every day. She enjoyed creating a fun, lively, and welcoming atmosphere as soon as students entered the school building. It was her goal to make every child feel welcomed, safe, and important. “For every child deserves a champion – an adult that doesn’t give up on them, and through the power of connection, help the child become the best they can possibly be.” She believes that working in education is one of the best places to build a career, because the journey is the reward. When you have an impact on a child’s mind, you have a chance to impact the world.

Outside of work, Mila loves to camp near the sea with her husband and three boys. She is proud to see her sons receive their education at Community Outreach Academy and knows that the positive impact the school has on her children prepares them for a brighter future. Mila loves creating traditions with her family and believes that it is the little things that build strong relationships. Mila’s take on life is to be positive, and not to give up. Be open to criticism, keep learning, and sometimes, laugh at yourself. Forgive quickly, and surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people. If you want to impact people, you must attract them first.

And no matter what, be courageous and be kind.

Benjamin Nesteruk, Site Manager / Pavilion & Dudley

Benjamin Nesteruk 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.

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.

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.

Daniella Manzyuk, Student Support Specialist

Daniella ManzyukDaniella Kalinyuk is the Student Support Specialist at Community Outreach Academy (COA). She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Sacramento in 2016 and began working at COA in 2017. She has worked with children in the public school classroom setting, with large groups of children 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 spending time with her husband and taking 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, School Office Manager

noid1q01034 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

Vita Matviychuk

VITA MATVIYCHUK is the Administrative Assistant at COA Elementary. Vita transitioned into her role after working many years as the Office Manager for a Psychiatric Outpatient facility. She was born in Ukraine and was brought to the US with her family at the age of 7. Having experienced growing up in the US has helped Vita relate to our students on a more practical level. She uses her experiences to help students adjust to the “American” way of life. Outside of the school, Vita spends her time with her husband, Tolik and three wonderful children: Milana, Matthew, and Malachi.

Oksana Ganzyuk, Registrar

Oksana Ganzyuk 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 siteNadezhda Nesteruk has been working as a registrar at Community Outreach Academy since 2013. She values the position she is in and loves everything about her job as a registrar. She believes that COA is a wonderful place for students, families, and staff and loves the parents that she gets to work with. It is her wish for every child to have the opportunity to learn and better themselves for their future. She has been married for over 25 years and has one daughter and two sons. She values her relationship with her kids and finds it very important to be a part of their lives.  Her experience with her own children helps her in understanding and relating to the parents and students of COA. Outside of work, Nadezhda enjoys spending time with her husband, gardening, and being a homemaker.