I can name a half dozen areas of the valley that have a reputation for quality schools. Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, Arcadia, and Madison all come to mind. Or a charter school like Basis does too. And then private schools, of course, like Tessaract or Phoenix Country Day.
Last night, I signed a lease with my newest tenants that will live pretty much in Downtown Phoenix. They are 2 teachers that in are the Teach For America program. They will be teaching in schools with at least an 80% poverty rate. These teachers will have amazing support and coaching from the Teach For America program, and have agreed to do their part to try to make a difference in underprivileged areas. Honestly, the kids that have one of those teachers are extremely fortunate, even if those kids aren't in a school that has the reputation of the schools I referenced earlier.
As far as recreation goes, do you mean parks (community, neighborhood, city, county state?) or do you mean golf courses, or swimming? Is that hiking or biking or soccer or baseball or some other outdoor recreation activity? And does lack of congestion/traffic refer to all year round for every street within 5 miles of your home, or traffic on your way to a specific employment center, or right there on the street you plan to live in.
Anyway, good luck with your search. Some more criteria to your home search will help any REALTOR provide some better direction, particularly a location where someone is planning to commute to, assuming someone in the household will be commuting into an employment center.