Planning to move from Mill Valley, CA to Austin, TX in June and would like your advice on two specific ISDs...

Asked by Tracyggray, 78704 Thu Feb 20, 2014

Looking for more information/feedback on two specific ISDs...I understand these are two very good ISDs, but specifically looking to understand which elementary school (s) within each ISD are considered the best and/or stand out among the rest. Looking at Lake Travis and Leander ISDs. My criteria: high test scores/focus on academics, high % move onto college, gifted programs and other enrichment programs like sports, science, drama, dance, choir. (I am not considering Eanes ISD due to the high cost of real estate..very similar to the current town I live in and is one of the reasons why I am moving.) Thank you.

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Keith Silver…, Other Pro, Austin, TX
Wed Apr 2, 2014
Sorry my phone number is 512-934-0629
0 votes
Laura Rosales, Agent, Austin, TX
Tue Feb 25, 2014
Hi Tracy,
The Central Texas area has a lot of great schools. There are quit a few websites that can give you
the information your looking for. Try for school rankings. Each area you have mention has a different feel and pace. Additionally, the home prices tend to be significantly different. I'm a native and am happy to answer any questions you may have.
Wishing you all the best!
Laura Rosales, REALTORĀ®
The Premiere Team Real Estate
Cell: 512-771-5334
0 votes
Stephen McCl…, Agent, Georgetown, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Hi Tracy,

I can't argue with my peers. Lake Travis does have the edge in terms of education opportunity. My parents are both recently retired educators within Lake Travis ISD. They spent their entire careers there. My dad was part of a development team for the advanced mathematics curriculum for middle and high school aged students. My mom was an elementary arts educator. They know first hand the in's and outs of the instructors, the schools, the system, everything. I would be happy to put you in touch with them so you could learn from them first hand what they think.

That said, do not be misled. The real estate and housing within the Lake Travis ISD will be at a higher premium. The location and area drives a much higher price. Leander ISD is not bad school district. Honestly it is a very good district with high graduation rates, excellence in academics and student development opportunities. It is a larger school district which will always drive overall averages down. As you noted yourself, it really depends on the specific elementary and their attitude / programs towards education. Some are better than others. That boils down to the teachers themselves. You can find an excellent elementary in Leander and more affordable housing or more home for your money. Feel free to visit our website where you can find various links to public service information such as school information, etc. You can also search for homes via several criteria specific to your needs. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to reach out to my parents or need more specific information regarding your relocation.


Stephen B. McClain Broker Owner
Cornerstone New Home Solutions
512 876-3116
0 votes
JOSEPH E JAR…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Tracy, from my experience dealing with clients who have children in both school districts, studying the data, and visiting the campuses, etc. based on your criteria the Lake Travis ISD seems superior overall. They seem to have more attention and focus on areas you are interested in specifically, and overall just seem to have a better academic program, not only when it comes to non-gifted children, but gifted children as well. When I moved here 10 years ago I looked at all the school districts and chose like Travis ISD for not only the elementary, but middle and high schools as well. Of course, It does vary a bit from school to school, but overall I believe the Lake Travis ISD exceeds in more of the criteria that you are interested in. The link I'm including including below from one of my title companies will have some specific information for you to review, but in my experience and from what I have heard from my clients, Lake Travis ISD seems to be a better fit for you and what you are looking for.

If you're not yet working with a qualified, experienced Realtor, feel free to call on me and I will be happy to work with you. I recommend reviewing the data I am sending you, letting me know if you need any other data, and possibly speaking with a few of the school administrators in both areas just to be sure. Based on what you're looking for, I feel Lake Travis would be a better fit. If that is in an area that is close enough to wherever you need to commute, assuming you do need to commute, it is also a great area otherwise for the children. A lot of activities, the Lake, amenities, and plenty to do for Adults as well. Lots of golf, shopping, restaurants, etc. and only about 25 minutes from downtown during non-commute times.

Feel free to contact me, as every other agent has requested as well, and I will do my best to help. I am not only a resident in Lake Travis ISD, I also am one of the top agents in the greater Austin area, am with the #1 Real Estate company in Austin, Keller Williams Realty, plus I do not charge any fees for my services. I also have a great team of lenders, inspectors, etc. to assist us throughout the process. One of the agents that commented prior to me, Melanie Damron, would also be a good resource as she was in the school system for many years, knows the rating system and schools intimately, is a friend and coworker of mine who was taught me much about the schools.

Nevertheless, feel free to contact me and I will do I can to assist! Thanks, Joe

Joe Jarusinsky, REALTORĀ®, Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Company, Call 512-261-4415
0 votes
Melanie Damr…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Dear Tracy,
I am a former assistant superintendent of Lake Travis Schools. I also taught in Eanes for 11 years, other districts for many more and was director of Advanced Academics and SS in Pflugerville schools. I still know many of the principals, programs, etc in both Leander and Lake Travis schools. I am beginning my 7th year in Real Estate and try to use my knowledge of all the schools to help clients. Please feel free to give me a call. I have lots of information on programs in both ISDs.
0 votes
Jim Schaffra…, Agent, Cedar Park, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Given the influence of University of Texas, all local ISD's are good. However, Lake Travis has a slightly better reputation and rating.
If you will send me your e-mail address to I can send you a published guide and a great deal of data.
0 votes
daisy dongie…, , 78701
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Hi Tracy

I would love to talk to you via phone or email so I can send you information on programs and the school districts.
Welcome to Austin. I moved here from Northern Calif in 1994 and love it. I can also tell you some super fun spots for your family to cool off in the summer.

Daisy Dongieux
Best Agents in Texas
Tel: 512 507-9005
0 votes
Becky, Home Buyer, Austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
We moved from Salt Lake City, UT with a very strong stand alone Gifted&Talented program into Leander ISD 5 years ago. Leander ISD does not recognize G&T. They do not acknowledge the label, at all. They have an elementary school program called QUEST "to get out the creative wiggles" for some of the kids (both our kids qualified, one with the out of state G&T testing). It's 30 minutes, 4 days each week, most weeks during the school year. There is no differentiation in any subject except Math until 9th grade, meaning, there is no "Honors Social Studies" or "Advanced Social Studies" or "Premium Science" or "G&T Science".... no differentiation until 9th grade! The QUEST program continues through middle school and is implemented as an "advanced Language Arts" program in some of the middle schools.

We, personally, have been very disappointed and have pulled our children from LISD and have them in private. The local elementary is VERY weak on memorization of math facts, spelling and science. It does have a great art, music and theater arts program!

I can speak on AISD, which has good depth of program, given their size, but I can not speak on Lake Travis ISD.
0 votes
Lorella Mart…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Rather than provide you opinions, I have provided information from 3rd party professionals: I think these links will help answer your questions.……


Lorella Martin
Redfin Corporation
Austin Team
0 votes
Eric Hegwer, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Hi -
My wife and I moved to Austin 10 years ago from Menlo Park.
I can provide you with all those stats, but it is much more than I can write in a response here.
Yes, I'm a Realtor, but I would like to send you a comprehensive booklet with all the stats you are asking for, from Elementary to High schools. It has details on all the districts.
Also, I encourage you to consider commute times when looking at schools. Just last week, I helped a family move FROM Steiner to something closer to UT because the drive time was so bad. In some areas it is approaching Bay Area congestion.
When you are ready, please send me an email,, and I'll get that book right out to you. It's not a PDF, so I have to mail it.
0 votes
Steven Nusin…, Agent, Austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
Steiner Ranch and River Place are 2 great family neighborhoods in Leander ISD and offer great Elementary Schools. Lakeway(Lake Travis ISD) is beautiful with great Elementary Schools as well. Both areas offer homes at various price points with relative affordability.

I think the best thing is take a tour of both and see what is the best fit. I would be happy to set this up when you are in Austin. Welcome to Austin!

Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Steve Nusinow
0 votes
Sherry Kenne…, Agent, austin, TX
Fri Feb 21, 2014
My husband and I raised our son in Lake Travis ISD, He attended the Lakeway Elementary. We could not have been more pleased. He now has a family and runs a Marriott Hotel in New York City. He left Lake Travis with a sense of pride and high self esteem and went on to college.

We loved living in the Lake Travis area, easy commute to Austin and just in general a beautiful place to live. We owned a home in Cardinal Hills in addition there is Great shopping at the Hill Country Galleria.

We have close friends who raves about Lake Point Elementary, they were so pleased with the school that private school was not even an option.

I can set you up to receive email alerts when new properties are placed on the market in the Lake Travis ISD. Please send me your email address and I will be happy to assist you in your home search

Sherry Kennerley, Realtor 512-696-2023
Johnny Mynhier, Realtor Assistant 512-758-2380
0 votes
Jeffrey Schn…, Agent, Austin, TX
Thu Feb 20, 2014
Hi Tracy,

Overall, most would prefer Lake Travis ISD over Leander, but then you have to consider location issues relative to commute, and other daily needs. It would help for those that answer the question, to know if you have any commute requirements. Within Leander ISD, if that is your preference, the southwestern portion of Leander ISD tends to have the strongest traits you mention. This area is made up of neighborhoods like Steiner Ranch, and River Place. Then we get into the discussion about your budget, as the higher rated the schools are, the higher the cost of homes tend to be, as you hint at when speaking of Eanes.

The challenge with either school district, is the commute to Austin. So again, knowing your commute travel requirements will be important to a total picture.

Welcome to Austin. Would love to earn your business and help you find the right mix of home, schools, and location. 512-913-7480

Jeffrey Schnabel
Broker- Associate - Realty Austin

Representing People, Not Properties
0 votes
Hi Tracy,
I work for a custom builder. Our office is in Leander ISD but we also build a lot of homes in the Lake Travis ISD. They both have great reputations and test scores but there are a lot of lifestyle differences. If you'd like to visit I would be happy to talk to you. Absolutely no obligation but at least you would know us if you did decide to design and build your own home.
Flag Wed Apr 2, 2014
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