First, be aware that Henrico County is currently re-districting as a new high is being constructed. Some kids may not end up going to Hermitage, but to the new school. Second, if I'm correct, the high schools are "fed" by several middle schools, which may be different in your area - some places "feed" several elementary schools into one middle/junior and then shift into one high school so all the kids stay together from 6th-12th.
I have familiarity with both Brookland and Hermitage. Brookland is diverse and has a relatively small campus, not exceptionally pretty, not terrible. Kids wear uniforms for PE, but not daily, and classrooms are exterior-opening (meaning: the kids don't walk out into closed hallways, but immediately into fresh-air). Lockers are available, but not often used. Advanced classes are available, and there was an option to even earn high school credit in some courses while in middle school. As in all schools, some teachers are good, some not. Some have created 'core' groups (meaning, they work together as a unit to educate the kids; parent-teacher conferences might be a round table discussions with all of your child's teachers present). You can create an IEP (individualized educational plans) which may help you if your child has developmental delays, emotional problems or is exceptionally gifted or unchallenged by standard curriculum.
Brookland administrators are strict; they react quickly (and in many cases, overreact) to behavioral problems, but this seems to be a growing trend in many middle schools (react first, ask questions later); because of this technique, they sometimes appear overwhelmed and unable to weed out true 'discipline' problems from stupid kid antics. Students have laptops under the Henrico Laptop Initiative, and (in my opinion) technology is great, but maybe not for the 6-8 grade range as the lower maturity levels can create additional disciplinary problems. Many classes rely heavily on the laptops, and in some classes, books were rarely, if ever, used.
Hermitage is a wonderful high school (from a parent's perspective). It is large (2000+ students), diverse and offers many, MANY opportunities for the kids educationally and beyond, including the opportunity to attend an attached vocational school (or any of the others in the county) which provides many with work credit and paid job experience while gaining high school credit. Driver's education is available on campus, too, and does a great job of educating both parent and child. The hallways are laid out well, and students can usually make it to classes without being tardy (exception being driver's ed or any of the very few classes taught in extension trailers at the back). There are plenty of electives (yearbook, drama, languages, etc.), and both advanced and general diplomas are available. Students can take Honors, AP, general and remediation classes. Gym is required until 11th grade, and all students must complete 50+ hours of community service prior to graduation.
Hermitage is also part of the laptop initiative, and they've been a little slow with upgrading the kids' computers, so many are in need of constant repair. The teachers are also heavy on laptop, less so on books, so again, don't be surprised if homework is routinely assigned/completed online. HCPS Link (an online resource used to connect parents/kids/teachers/administration on a daily/weekly basis) is more heavily utilized and updated in high school than at the middle school, so be prepared for that, too. There is a new principal at Hermitage who may be ex-military (the old principal was much more laid-back), and the disciplinary atmosphere has changed somewhat, but not necessarily for the worse. For example, she is very strict regarding cell phone presence and usage. Teachers don't seem to escalate discipline problems excessively as they did in Brookland, and so there's more recognition that teenagers are human, too. Let's put it this way - I don't cringe when the phone rings anymore! There are pep rallies, dances, football games, fundraisers, plays, musical events, etc. My biggest complaint with Hermitage? The guidance counselors! They are extremely slow in dealing with parent questions, student concerns, etc., which can be annoying and stressful when helping kids prep for college, etc. That is a difference from Brookland - counselors were quick to return calls and discuss students' progress.
Oh, and Magnolia Ridge is clean, suburban, and a relatively small community located close to Virginia Center Commons Mall and an additional retail area (Barnes/Noble, Party City, etc.). You can walk from Magnolia Ridge to many small stores (not grocery, though a semi-Super Target and Ukrops are not far; you just wouldn't want to carry things home). There is a small preschool located there, but I recommend using another one (not impressed with care beyond age 3). There is a park in the subdivision. Check crime statistics, but I haven't heard about a lot of car theft, break-in's, etc. in that area. The fire station is nearby (less than 1 mile), and police (state/local) are within 5 miles.
So, hope this helps!