Richard E. Wagner, 64, a retired administrator and former principal in the Montgomery County public schools who was active in singing organizations, died Jan. 28 at the Washington Hospital Center after a heart attack. He lived in Silver Spring.

Dr. Wagner joined the Montgomery County schools in the mid-1940s.

He taught English at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring until 1963, then served as principal of that school for two years. From 1966 to 1969, he was principal of Charles Woodward High School before becoming an area director of schools.

He also served as assistant to the superintendent of county schools and associate superintendent of schools for instructional and pupil services before retiring in 1979.

He was the organist and choir director of Memorial United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, a past dean of the Potomac Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and member of the Rockville Chorus.

He was secretary of the Federal Schoolmans Club.

Dr. Wagner was a native of Washington and graduate of McKinley Technical High School.

A graduate of the old Wilson Teachers College, he earned master's and doctoral degrees in education at the University of Maryland.

He taught at Charlotte Hall Military Academy and served in the Army during World War II before joining the Montgomery County schools.

Survivors include his wife, Elise M., and a son, Bruce L., both of Silver Spring; a brother, Robert B., of Glenn Dale, Md.; a sister, Doris Jean Davis of Alaska, and one grandchild.