Mary Shimazaki has taught in California urban public schools for more than 20 years. She is an Educational Psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California. Her research interests focus on academic motivation. Of particular interest is how toxic stress which urban students endure outside school in their homes and neighborhoods can interfere with their achievement in school. She seeks to identify unique teaching practices and social and emotional attributes of urban public school teachers which are necessary to ensure that students in this chronically underserved subgroup can achieve their potential.