The most exclusive neighborhoods (big properties, country clubs, etc) are Ansley Hills, Druid Hills and Buckhead. Obviously all have excellent public schools.
The most child-friendly, easy to walk, pleasant neighborhoods (playgrounds, ice cream shops, top schools) are Morningside, Virginia-Highlands, and Midtown. If you can afford something here, it will be a fabulous investment. These areas have the same excellent public schools as above.
I would be more than happy to live in the City of Decatur or Candler Park also. Mary Lin Elementary is a great school and I hear good things about City of Decatur schools (although property taxes are fairly high in Decatur).
The best prices right now are in the following "up-and-coming" neighborhoods: Grant Park, Kirkwood, Edgewood and Kirkwood. However, these neighborhoods DO NOT have great schools. You will have to apply to private schools or apply now for a lottery spot in one of the Charter Schools. I am currently looking at homes in these areas (because the rent in Virginia-Highlands is just too much for me), but am picking my favorite streets and applying for schools now. While these areas suffer from break-ins on occasion, I'm not worried about violent crime at all (and I'm a public defender, so I'm pretty familiar with what is going on in the community).
There are also great homes and schools in North Atlanta, but that's a little too suburbia for me!