There are so many great cities, neighborhoods, and school distrists in the Bay Area.
Depends on whether you want a home or condo/townhome. Since you already have an idea about the school locations, I would start with a list of properties in the areas you would like to live. Take a look at the areas & neighborhoods which those homes (which are in the good school areas) and see if you like what you see. Then start looking at the inside of the homes. - Most of this work can be done with you and your Realtor in his/her office with the MLS listings on the computer.