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.

Michelle Meza, Vice Principal (TK-2)

Michelle Hernandez

Michelle has several years of teaching experience. She began her career in education as a paraprofessional who supported English Language Development classes. Her experience includes working with children from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Michelle earned a bachelor’s degree from Sacramento State University in liberal studies with concentrations in ethnic studies and English, and also earned her multiple subject teaching credential. Michelle continued her education at San Diego State University where she earned her master’s degree in education leadership in order to also obtain her administrative credential. Throughout her teaching career she taught grades pre-kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. Michelle joined COA as a first grade teacher in 2018. Later, she became an instructional coach who supported teachers with the instruction they provide to the marvelous multilingual learners of COA Elementary School. Michelle is bilingual and speaks both English and Spanish fluently, and believes speaking more than one language is a valuable asset for future success. She believes every child deserves a quality education and the adults who are privileged to support them in their learning should also be learners themselves. She believes in using the most current research based tools, strategies, and resources to further education. Today, she serves COA as a vice principal and is enjoying every moment of working with the dedicated leaders and staff to provide a quality education experience for the amazing students of COA. Michelle loves serving the families who choose COA, and hopes to continue her work here for many years to come! 

Roman Prishlyak, Vice Principal (3-5 gr.)

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Roman Prishlyak is the Vice Principal for 3rd-5th grades at Community Outreach Academy. He has been a part of COA since 2017 and has had the opportunity to serve COA as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and now as a vice principal. Roman was born in Ukraine but raised in the United States. Growing up, he quickly found his passion, which was education. With each grade that he completed, it became clear that teaching and working in the field of education was his calling. He devoted himself to this goal and never looked back. Roman has a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies, an A.A. degree in Elementary Education, and an A.S. degree in Photography (one of his favorite hobbies). In 2017, Roman was hired as a 4th-grade teacher at COA. He quickly grew into his role as a teacher and devoted himself to the students. During his second year at COA, he took on the role of being the Lead Teacher for the grade level. In 2021, Roman was hired as the Instructional Coach for 3rd-5th grade. During this time, he was able to continue his passion by working with teachers to support the students at COA. His responsibilities branched out in many directions, which allowed him to grow in knowledge and become a stronger educator. In 2023, Roman was hired as the Vice Principal for 3rd-5th grades at COA. He continues to support his teachers and students within this role. His passion for education only continues to grow, and his dedication to the students of COA becomes stronger with each passing day. Roman firmly believes and stands behind these words: “Whatever it takes - Our kids are worth it.”


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.

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, Community Engagement Specialist

Ivan LESHCHUK IVAN LESHCHUK has been working for Community Outreach Academy since 2005. As a community engagement specialist, 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, Parent Liaison

Daniella Manzyuk Daniella Manzyuk is the Parent Liaison 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 15 years. Daniella was born in the United States to Ukrainian parents, grew up attending a Slavic 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. As a mom to three young children, she understands our COA parents' passion for their children's wellbeing, education, and success. Daniella is passionate about seeing students thrive at COA Elementary. She is determined to make sure every student feels supported by their school and their families 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 three kiddos and taking trips to the coast.