Congrats to you! We lived in Pleasanton, CA for a time and then Brentwood.
The school reports for Castro Valley and San Ramon as well as Pleasanton and Brentwood are all very good. See the links below I have provided.
Castro Valley is located in the hills between the valley and the bay. It is connected by BART to Oakland, San Francisco as well as the valley communities of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore.
Crime reports are available from the community police departments. Pleasanton's report:
I don't know if a report exists for the overall Valley versus living in Hayward and Fremont or versus Oakland and Richmond. The latter are generally regarded as high crime areas.
For dining, San Francisco and the greater Bay Area have everything. I was fond of taking guests into San Francisco over the weekend. It's almost a can't miss. But, you might want to spend a few hours picking up some reviews from http://www.sfgate.com
and other media sites. Wine expert Rick Bakas (on Facebook) is a wine expert with great advice and tips. He lives in Napa Valley and was working for a vintner there. He also is on Twitter.
BART provides a pleasant commute through a good part of the Bay Area. The commute time from Pittsburg to Market Street in San Francisco was 45 minutes on good days, and it certainly beat the same commute by car in terms of dealing with traffic. This is the route for which I am most familiar.
I loved San Francisco and living in the valley. The climate is very agreeable. Summer's are not too hot and winter's mild (by comparison to Colorado where I live now).
Hope this information is helpful.