See the good-bye gift the APS school board gave Erroll Davis

What do you get the superintendent who joined a district in the midst of a test-cheating scandal and stuck around through a sea of crises for three years?

A brand new pair of jammies, apparently.

Last night, the Atlanta Public Schools board gave Superintendent Erroll Davis, who will retire next month, a pair of pale blue pajamas. Embroidered on the left breast of the pale-blue jammies were the core principles Davis set for APS: excellence, equity, ethics and engagement.

Atlanta owes Davis a debt of gratitude, board Chairman Courtney English said Monday.

“He basically swam up to the Titanic after it hit the iceberg,” English said.

Davis, the former chancellor of the University System of Georgia, was hired as superintendent in July 2011. Five days after he was hired, state investigators released a report detailing systematic cheating in the district and a deeply compromised culture. Davis replaces Beverly Hall, who faces criminal allegations in connection with the test cheating scandal.

“It’s been interesting,” Davis said of his tenure Monday, adding, “Interesting is what you say about ugly babies.”

Davis cited recent improvements in the district’s graduation rate, but challenged the board to “face reality.

“It’s still only 59 percent which is far too low,” he said.

And then, in one of his final messages to the board, Davis recited the part of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King that describes King Arthur’s death after the dissolution of the Round Table.

You know, the part about the old order changeth, yielding place to new.

Former Austin school district superintendent Meria Carstarphen will formally take over the superintendent's post next month.