California Lutheran University is launching a new master’s degree program in educational leadership on the Central Coast.

This is the first time that the Thousand Oaks-based university has offered classes north of Ventura County. The Educational Leadership program will begin in May at the new Central Coast Learning Center, which is located in the administrative office of the Orcutt Union School District.

The accelerated one-year program will allow students to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership and a preliminary administrative services credential while working full-time. Students will take classes on the Orcutt campus on weekends and online during four 11-week terms.

The CLU Graduate School of Education established such partnerships with Central Coast school districts to provide students with field experience. Assignments will require students to identify and research solutions for actual challenges faced by districts. The program will focus on implementing creative solutions to the problems administrators encounter daily.

Faculty with experience in the field and local school administrators will serve as mentors. Moving through the program with a cohort, students will also benefit from developing relationships with fellow working professionals.

The program will train students to serve as assistant principals, principals, directors, assistant superintendents and superintendents as well as in leadership positions in teaching, higher education and nonprofit administration.

The new program is headed by Victoria L. Kelly, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California, Santa Barbara/California State University, San Luis Obispo Joint Doctoral Program. She has extensive experience working with local districts and researching ways administrators can improve academic achievement.

CLU already offers the Educational Leadership Program on its main Thousand Oaks campus.