Frank William Hubbard, 79, a retired official of the National Education Association, died Tuesday at his Washington home. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Hubbard was an elementary school principal and public school research director in California before joining the NEA in 1926 as assistant director of research. He became director of research in 1940 and was assistant executive secretary for information services from 1956 until his reitrement in 1965.

In 1943, he established the NEA Safety Project, a school safety program that has been credited with averting street and crossing accidents. Ten years alter, he initiated the use of teaching aids designed to help teachers apply educational research to classroom use.

As assistant executive secretary of information, Mr. Hubbard was in charge of NEA research press, radio, television and motion picture services and all NEA publications, including the NEA Journal.

Two of his educational documentaries won Golden Reel awards and another, "Children Without," produced in 1964, won an Academy Award.

Mr. Hubbard served as technical adviser for the NBC-TV series, "Mr. Novak," starring James Franciscus, from 1963 to 1965, and taught summer sessions at Northwestern University and the universities of California and Michigan.

A native of San Bernadino, Calif., he earned Bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California. In 1931, he hearned a doctorate from Columbia University's Teachers College.

He was secretary of the American Educational Research Association for 14 years. He also was a member of the Office of Education's first Research Advisory Committee and a former president of the Federal Schoolmen's Club.

Mr. Hbubard was a 32nd degree Mason.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Dr. Genevieve Gregg Hubbard, of the home in Washington; two daughters, Jean L., of Washington, and Carolyn Lee Flanagan, of San Jose, Calif.; a brother, O. S. Hubbard, of Portland, Ore., and two grandhcildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Association. CAPTION: Picture, FRANK WILLIAM HUBBARD, 1962 Photo