TOWNSEND — As Townsend approaches its 275th anniversary, we want to recognize the many generations that have come before us.

Their stories live on in books like 1992’s “VOICES from their times and places.”

Here we invite you, our readers, to share your own memories of Townsend, to appear in this newspaper.

E-mail your memory to or call the Townsend Historical Society at (978) 597-2160.

Joseph Sciacca, 55, is serving his third term as chairman of the North Middlesex Regional School District (NMRSD) School Committee, and his eighth year as a Townsend representative.

In April 2007 his youngest daughter will complete her senior year at the high school. He will not seek re-election. The father of three, now a grandfather, has been active in the St. John the Evangelist and Our Lady of the Lake parishes, while he and his wife, Lisa, raised their family in Timberlee Park. Sciacca is graduate of the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, and now works as a local financial advisor for Edward Jones, an investment counseling firm.

“When Lisa and I moved here in August of 1976, Timberlee Park wasn’t finished. There was no traffic light in the Harbor, and an occasional train still ran through. I paid our first electric bill to Terry McNabb’s mother at the pharmacy,” he said. “Where my office is today, the building didn’t exist. On the spot was a bar. Not a fine establishment by any stretch. I remember stopping in there once and watching the bodies flying around. After the ‘Wren’ burned down, this place was built.

“Townsend has stayed, in my mind, a typical small New England town, voting Republican in the middle of a democratic state, as many small New England towns do,” he said. “I hope it keeps its character, but the way our town government is run seems to me to be antiquated. We need a mayor or town manager with expertise in public administration. It’s not the size of the town that is the issue. It’s a lot more complicated nowadays; more laws, more rules to follow. The selectmen are just like the rest of us. They can’t know about all that. They have to rely on the town administrator, just as the School Committee depends on experts. But the School Committee is only focused on education, not all the responsibilities the selectmen have. Our form of government has to change.

“I got involved with the School Committee when my oldest daughter, Kristin, served as a student representative in her senior year at the high school,” said Sciacca. “I went to the meetings to watch her. I didn’t know what they were talking about, which you don’t unless you go regularly.

“It is important to be involved with your schools. Through the School Committee you have a direct say in the education process when it comes to the budget, the superintendent and policy,” he said. “Yes, it takes up some time. (There are) meetings that run for two-and-a-half hours, another two hours to review the meeting package in advance, sometimes separate meetings. For example, the current search for a new superintendent. But it has its rewards.

“The most satisfying experience for me while serving on the School Committee has been watching the kids come through North Middlesex and finish with an outcome,” said Sciacca. “They go on to do something, in two-year or four-year schools (88 percent), military service (10 percent) or work (2 percent).

“We just had a graduate win a scholarship to Harvard. The district is in the top 25 percent in MCAS scores, and the bottom 10 percent in per pupil expenditures,” he said. “We have some outstanding teachers. Our music and voice programs are among the best in the state.

“I think I brought a global perspective to the School Committee instead of coming in with a personal agenda,” said Sciacca. “The Committee works better with people like that, when they rise above any special interests. We got things done and the meetings ran smoothly. I feel as Jim does: The kids should come first.”