By: Nihar Iyengar — Correspondent
After numerous retirements and reassignments in the school counseling office, Mr. Mahesh Balan has assumed the role of Sharon High School’s newest school adjustment counselor, responsible for addressing the mental health needs of students in all grades.
Balan, born in India, moved to Queens, NY, at the age of five and again to Long Island when he was in seventh grade. He went to Boston University for his undergraduate degree, UMass-Lowell for his Master’s in Criminal Justice, and Cambridge College for his Master’s in Education.
Before entering the field of education, Balan worked in residential homes in Lynn, MA, where he gained valuable experience helping children who struggled with severe emotional and behavioral issues. “That was the hardest job I ever had because it was my first experience working with teenagers struggling with real-life issues,” he said.
Balan then worked as a middle school Substance Abuse Counselor in Queens, NY, educating students on their decision-making skills. After serving as a Gang Prevention Coordinator and Juvenile Probation Officer for more than a decade, he took up the position as Dean of Students at Weymouth High School. “I realized that my style in working with teenagers was more aligned with helping them figure out how they can solve their problems instead of punishing them,” Balan explained, adding that this is why he decided to become a school adjustment counselor.
He is already a member of the Sharon community, having worked at the middle school last year. Balan was thoroughly impressed when he attended the Black Lives Matter rally put on by Sharon students, which further solidified his desire to stay in Sharon.
Balan lives with his wife, Laura, and their two dogs. He loves spicy food and ‘80’s hard rock and heavy metal music. Over the last five years, he has developed a keen interest in Tai Chi, even winning first place in multiple categories in a competition last year. He hopes to bring this experience to the high school by starting a Tai Chi Club for staff and students. “I find it very helpful in releasing stress and negative energy,” said Balan.
At the high school, Balan hopes to help people find their inner strength to solve their problems. “There’s nothing more rewarding or satisfying than helping people see a different perspective and having them realize that when they see other perspectives, they are growing,” he added.