We just went through all of this.. and since I my kids pretty much span all age groups, we were looking at elementary thru high school.
Essex schools are very good. They've got a huge ice hockey rink, swimming pool.. plus their arts dep't isn't too shabby. My husband graduated from there and was very involved in music and theater. The schools are very welcoming and probably the most diverse in the area, due to the presence of IBM in town. They are very traditionally run, but great nonetheless.
The district that encompasses the CVU high school catchement area (Williston, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Charlotte) was what we went with in the long run. The elementary/middle schools are kind of a hybrid b/w traditional and montessori in that there is a lot of grade blending. It works on a "house" system rather than "grade". Each house encompasses 2 or 3 grades. The kids are given a lot of independence, but also have a lot expected of them. The high school is run almost like a college. The kids can come and go. They have some great atheletics, but are mostly known for their arts programs.. (my husband always wanted to go there
We looked at South Burlington, but found it to be really depressing. The high school has a security guard station positioned immediately in front of the front doors. It reminded me of Flobbertown, for anyone familiar with the Dr. Seuss book. They do have an incredible technical dep't. Their hs computer science classes are like college level classes. We just didn't think it was worth the dreariness..
The Burlington City schools are not known for being great, so we didn't look there. They've got a great school lunch program that I read about, if only they could eat lunch all day
.... Maybe someone else here has personal experience with those schools.
Richmond is also supposed to be great, but that was further out than we wanted to go. My sister-in-law has kids in Colchester, and hates it..
Hope that helps! PM me when you are moved. I'd love to get together!!