08:46 AM

Meet Christopher Kaio, New Director of Disability Services

New Jersey native, now Humble resident, Christopher Kaio said he still hasn't adjusted to Houston's weather, but he considers his new position as the University of Houston-Downtown's director of the Office of Disability Services a great fit for his background and experience.

"I have an affinity for working with students who are underserved," Kaio said. "This position gives me the opportunity to work with students with all types of disabilities. I've worked with these students in the public schools. Now, I can work with them on the post-secondary level and help them make that transition to achieve the goal of a baccalaureate degree.

"My graduate studies focused on urban students so with UHD it is a great fit working with nontraditional students and serving that community."

Kaio completed his undergraduate work at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a bachelor's degree in religion. He moved to Houston 2003 to be close to his family. He received his master's degree in curriculum and instruction specializing in special education and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas Southern University. He has worked as a public school classroom teacher, high school counselor and school administrator in the Houston, Klein and Pearland Independent School Districts.

Kaio said although he is new to UHD and he is still meeting students, faculty and staff, he has gathered some impressions and developed some goals.

"In talking with students, one of the things that attracts students (with disabilities) is the friendly environment at UHD and that's something I've experienced myself as someone new to campus," he said.

"The biggest thing I'd like to do is make Disability Services a more student-centered office where our services are tailored to our students," he said. "I want the needs of the students driving changes in the office not the professionals in the office."

He also would like the office to be more visible so students and staff members know about the office and the services it provides. Kaio started in his new position Jan. 17.

For more information about the Office of Disability Services, call the office at 713-226-5227, email disabilityservices@uhd.edu or visit www.uhd.edu/disability/.