Larissa Gonchar, Director

Larissa Gonchar rgp newman lasik LARISSA GONCHAR is the director 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.

Michael Serdi, Campus Principal


MICHAEL SERDI is the campus principal at Community Outreach Academy Elementary School (COA). He has been serving COA since 2010, providing professional leadership and support to staff, stakeholder parents, students, and the community. Mr. Serdi pursued a Career Technical Education Credential through the San Diego County Office of Education and successfully completed the SCOE Administrative Credential Program in 2020. Additionally, Mr. Serdi holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Odessa National Law Academy of Ukraine. Mr. Serdi possesses an undeniable passion for education and inspiring learning endeavors, tirelessly striving for the school to thrive. His ultimate goals are to provide the highest academic achievement for every student of COA Elementary School and honor the school’s values and traditions. As a principal of COA Elementary School, Mr. Serdi oversees and provides strategic direction to school staff, colleagues, and the community, ensuring every student is equipped with a high-quality curriculum in order to achieve exceptional educational excellence. His outstanding leadership expertise enhances a thriving, diverse community striving to meet a common goal. Michael is married to his wife, Katerina, with whom they have twin daughters. In his free time, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and exploring the great outdoors. He exemplifies the attributes and skills of a hardworking, dedicated, passionate, supportive, and persistent individual, making him an incredible leader here at COA Elementary.

Nicole Strobel, Vice Principal


Nicole Strobel is the vice principal at Community Outreach Academy Elementary School (COA). She has been with COA since 2012. She started as a Kindergarten teacher, where she taught for three years. She then became a curriculum coach and supported grades, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, Russian department, PE department, Intervention, ELD, and RSP department. She was in this role for six years. She holds an A.A. in Liberal Studies, B.A. in Child Development, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, and her administrative credential. Mrs. Strobel has a passion and love for education unlike any other. She is devoted to making education accessible for all students. She believes that education is incredibly important and all students deserve the opportunity to access an education. Nicole is married to her husband Ryan and they share 7 pets together, 2 dogs and 5 parrots. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, family, friends, and pets. She loves art and movies. Her hard work, dedication, and skills make her an asset to COA Elementary.  

Michelle Hernandez, Curriculum Coach (KG-2 gr.)

Michelle Hernandez

Michelle  is in her third year at COA. She joined COA as a first grade teacher and is now the Curriculum Coach for kindergarten, first, and second grades. She also supports the PE teachers at COA. She has several years of teaching experience with students who were learning English. In fact, Michelle values language and culture so much that she has worked hard to learn the best strategies for teaching students who are learning English.  She is herself bilingual in both English and Spanish, so she values multilingualism greatly. She believes every child deserves a quality education and having more than one language is an asset, not a barrier towards reaching academic success.  Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Ethnic Studies and English Language Learners. She continued her education at San Diego State University where she earned her master’s degree in education leadership with an emphasis in technology. 

When Michelle is not working hard to support the wonderful teachers at COA,  she loves to read books, watch football, or  spend time with her family and her dog.  Michelle loves serving the community at COA and hopes to continue supporting the amazing teachers at COA as their curriculum coach for many years to come! 

Roman Prishlyak, Curriculum Coach (3-5 gr.)

012 774A0047My name is Roman Prishlyak and I'm so excited to be working at this amazing school! This will be my 4th year teaching at COA. Teaching is more than a job for me - it is truly a passion! I love learning and I hope to instill the same passion in my students!  I graduated from Sacramento State University with a B.A. in Liberal Studies and have obtained my Teaching Credential from National University. I have also studied at Sierra College where I obtained an A.A. degree in Elementary Education and an A.S. degree in Photography. Furthermore, I have also worked for the San Juan Unified School District and for Twin Rivers Unified School District. While working for San Juan Unified, I had the opportunity of being a Child Development Assistant. During my two years with Twin Rivers Unified, I had the privilege of working as a Substitute Teacher at various schools. When I am not teaching, I am traveling the coast of California, spending time in the mountains, or relaxing at a lake with my wife and our two children. 


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 (Director)

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.

Anna Astapov, Administrative Assistant


ANNA ASTAPOV is the administrative assistant at COA Elementary School.  Anna started as a para-educator for the After-School Program at the beginning of the 2015/16 school year. Later that year, she transitioned to COA Middle School, taking a role of a Clerk. She has served Community Outreach Academy for six years and considers it a wonderful experience to be a part of COA Elementary. Anna is a firm believer in education and its role in every individual's life, especially at a young age when children are growing and forming into the kind of people they will become. She believes that school plays a tremendous role in their development. She considers herself blessed to be part of such an important cause for our students. In her spare time, Anna enjoys spending time with her son, family, and friends.

Mila Zazhitskiy, Site Manager (Skvarla)


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 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 Manzyuk 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.