Greet The Loop Hwy 68

Being able to do what you absolutely love every day is truly a blessing!

In Spring, 2017, both the school year and their full-time teaching careers were coming to an end for long-time educators, Lorraine Gerstl and Margie Lotz.  While they were ready for a different pace, retirement was out of the question. They cherished children, loved teaching, and felt too young and energetic to abandon either.

Lorraine and Margie decided to start an educational enrichment program for homeschoolers. Lorraine recounts, “We thought if we could attract 10 children, we could teach four or five hours a week, keep our minds and hearts in the field we love, and still have time to do things we’ve always wanted to do for ourselves.”

It didn’t quite work out that way. In its first year, Omni Learning Center had 30 students, rented a room from Cypress Community Church, halfway between Monterey and Salinas, and started teaching traditional classes: reading, writing, history, and science. Then, they started experimenting with novel ideas, offering classes in manners & etiquette, chess, cooking, kitemaking, and a cultural tour of Europe to see if these generated any interest. Did they ever! Word spread rapidly: Here was something new, different, and exciting! By its second year, Omni welcomed 45 students.

Soon a new need arose. “Gathering For Women” provided a shelter for homeless, jobless women, where they could get a meal, shower, and basic needs. Enter Lorraine and Margie, offering classes for women on how to re-enter the job market. For the first time in years, these women found something that had eluded them — a sense of self-worth. And many of them emerged with jobs!

By early 2020, when Omni was busier than ever, COVID-19 hit. Undeterred and nimble, Omni switched to offering classes on Zoom. With extra time on their hands, Lorraine and Margie wrote and published four different, colorful books, which are sold nationwide: The Omni Guides to Manners & Etiquette; Reading Comprehension; Study Skills; and World Geography. Then, the partners engaged hundreds of viewers on YouTube, presenting dynamic educational programs that remain popular to this day.

As Monterey County emerged from COVID’s darkest days, Omni Learning Center went hybrid: in-person classes and Zoom classes.  Today, Omni’s current enrollment is over 70 students. The “impossible dream” has become a reality. With seven “live” classes a week, including two reading classes, two writing classes, Triple Geography, Chess, and Art, plus extra classes via Zoom, it became apparent that Omni needed additional faculty. Where better to look than teachers they had known and worked with for years – teachers who shared their same philosophy?  Zoë Sippel, Susan Smith, and Richard Lake eagerly came on board.

Approved vendors of Ocean Grove, Yosemite Valley, and Monarch Charter Schools, the future looks bright as these two ladies, who have truly found the fountain of youth, look forward to many years of helping students make their dreams come true.  Lorraine and Margie invite you to visit their website at to share their joy.