The 1987-88 academic year could bring many new names to the rolls of the District's public school policy makers. Last week, Floretta D. McKenzie announced her resignation as superintendent of the 87,000-pupil system, effective in February, and the Board of Election and Ethics released the names of 22 candidates running for six of the school board's 11 positions.

The Board of Education, which has a history of both byzantine rivalries and public battles, has settled in recent years. Sharp words rarely split the 1986-87 meetings; instead, students received honors, retiring teachers got plaques and praise, and board members told detailed stories of encouraging experiences with students.

When the agenda brought tough issues -- such as dispensing contraceptives to students -- the board often postponed action by ordering further study.

In recent interviews, challengers for seats in wards 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 and the at-large position open in the Nov. 3 election frequently cited a need for strong support of good teachers, and for community groups, parents and churches to play a larger role in the school system. The school board positions carry an annual salary of about $24,000.

Only in one ward has the D.C. Council member made an endorsement. H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) has given his support to Herbert Boyd Jr., fueling speculation that Crawford and school board incumbent Nathaniel Bush may someday compete for the council seat.

Bush, first elected in 1979, sees himself as a viable contender for the council, but said his sole interest now is reelection to the school board. He said his immediate goals are providing "innovative, interesting programs" for secondary students, including those at the new cluster of Roper, Sousa and Woodson junior high schools. He also wants to consider giving "more challenges sooner" to prekindergarten and other young pupils.

Boyd, who works in the school's attendance branch, said he believes in "teaching values, and a better sense of self-development" for students. He wants to support teachers and devise a plan to dissuade students from dropping out.

Lately, under Bush, the schools have been "in isolation," Boyd said, with little of the interaction with merchants, civic groups and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions that Boyd regards as invaluable to students.

Richard Smith, who has four sons in Aiton Elementary, sat in on classes there last year and saw "a prevalent discipline problem." He said he would like better teacher-parent relations, school uniforms to save money and end fashion rivalries, and the restoration of academic classes to the vocational schools to eliminate shuttling. He favors the distribution of birth control devices at school clinics if parents are notified.

James Miles sees unacceptably high truancy, delinquency and dropout rates. "I think the schools, families and churches are the institutions that educate us," said Miles, who has lived most of his life in Ward 7. He criticized Bush for "his remoteness from community activities."

Ward 6, with middle-class Capitol Hill and poorer, eastern neighborhoods, challenges its representative to serve both sides well. Capitol Hill resident Bob Boyd said that since his 1983 election, he has succeeded by winning support from civic leaders, businesses and advisory neighborhood commissioners in Anacostia, and by arranging the adoption of Kramer Junior High by the lottery board and of Anacostia High by the Navy and Postal Service. The trend of bright elementary students to transfer away, rather than attend Kramer or Anacostia, has slowed considerably as the schools have improved, Boyd said.

But challenger Arthur Jenkins, a school system employe for 29 years, said that under Boyd, "the majority of children in Ward 6 have been shortchanged." In Jenkins' view, "high-risk, low-income children actually need more expenditures," and he would work to see a more effective use of Ward 6 funds and facilities.

Geraldine S. Bell, a Department of Human Services employe, said Boyd is "not giving enough attention to Anacostia schools." She hopes to strengthen the PTA, hire more teachers at higher salaries, and combat teen-age pregnancy and infant mortality through birth control availability at school clinics.

"We want to get rid of this outdated curriculum," said Irving Hinton, a community activist and an affirmative action officer for Parcel 16, a developer on H Street NE.

"We're turning out illiterates," Hinton said. He favors expanding adult education and starting family life centers, to help children by helping their parents. Hinton would like to bring groups such as the Black Men's Forum to schools to give hope, guidance and role models to children.

Charlotte Holmes, a veteran city candidate, said that Boyd has been inaccessible to residents throughout the ward. She rates the board in general as "passive," and only visible around election time. Holmes said that she would "visit {schools}, go to one, then to another, and just see what is the problem" in city education.

John (Peter Bug) Matthews, who runs the Peter Bug Shoe Repair Training Academy Youth Entrepreneurship in Southeast, said he is so determined to have children succeed in school that "I chase them in the house" on school nights.

Although he lives on Capitol Hill, he said the ward's resources are concentrated in that area, resulting in neglect of Anacostia, and vowed that if elected, "the people will run Ward 6 schools."

Bettie Benjamin, a Ward 5 board member since 1974, is seeking reelection and said she hopes to expand before- and after-school programs geared to children of working parents, foster community involvement in schools, and push for renovations and repairs in the ward.

A challenger, Angie King Corley, a counselor at McKinley High and a civic activist whose four children attended city schools, said her energy and knowledge of the schools would make her a responsive board member. She would like a revised curriculum, aggressive programs to fight teen pregnancy and drug abuse, and efforts to tie in with city agencies whose goals correspond to those of the schools.

Another challenger, Kathryn Pearson-West, a city government employe, D.C. schools graduate and community activist, said she regrets that many Ward 5 parents send their children to private schools, and wants to bring public schools up to par. Because the schools are such an important part of the community, she said, she would solicit involvement of senior citizens and civic associations. She also would work for a Ward 5 model academic junior high, and for before- and after-school care.

"What I see about the schools that bothers me is the liberal attitude and its effect on children," said Lois Tett, another Ward 5 challenger who believes that parents and churches, not schools, are responsible for sex education. Tett also believes that the current board operates off an "old boy network," and said "they will help you if they know you."

Describing himself as "a visionary," Samuel Robinson, a Department of Human Services employe and the fifth candidate in the race, said he would emphasize knowledge, competency and skill for students, and solicit support from churches, civic associations and parents.

Art Lloyd, a marshal at D.C. Superior Court who studied history and government at Howard University, faces Ward 4's Linda Cropp, first elected in 1979.

Lloyd, whose two sons attend Takoma Elementary, said he would like to restore morals to the city and discipline to the schools. His work as a youth counselor and a substitute teacher, he said, prompted his interest in the school board position. "Kids have so many problems, and I felt the need to help them," he said.

Cropp, whose husband Dwight is a longtime aide of Mayor Marion Barry, said she has helped her constituents by publishing regular reports, working for the inclusion of science, foreign language and city history in graduation requirements, and helping to hire McKenzie. If reelected, Cropp said she hopes to make the city flexible in teacher recruitment, advance standards for secondary schools, and start school repair programs by vocational arts students.

Ward 1 representative Wilma Harvey said that if she returns to the board, she intends to continue thrice-yearly visits to the ward's 17 schools, to update school information guides that she devised for parents, and to expand programs for the ward's large Hispanic population.

Facing Harvey is Edward Beasley, who holds a master's degree from the University of the District of Columbia and trains students at Howard University's WHMM-TV. Beasley said he hopes to include more courses that stress "analytical thinking and global issues." He also would like the school system to foster self-actualization among students, and give strong support to teachers.

At-large representative Eugene Kinlow said he believes that important upcoming issues are flexibility in attracting good teachers, higher academic standards in secondary schools, installation of a new superintendent and establishment of a student values program.

Challenging him is Paul Burke, a Department of Housing and Urban Development employe who taught for two years in Ghana.

"If elected, I would hope to identify and encourage good teachers," Burke said. To assess the school system, and to see what sorts of programs could best prepare students for jobs, military service and college, Burke would survey local businesses and recent D.C. graduates for their suggestions.

The third contender for the at-large seat, David Dabney, would establish a boarding school for homeless children and institute awards to stimulate study, such as trips to Paris and South Africa. He said he also would like to institute awards for low-income children who manage academic excellence despite rat and roach problems at home.