Rick West was raised in rural Chesapeake with his two brothers and two sisters. Since Rick’s father was often away from home on deployment, Rick’s brothers and sisters were forced to work with each other to face the daily challenges of life. Rick learned that being a family can look different to everyone. The West family survived because they learned to rely on each other, and they benefited from of a supportive community. Rick is reminded of these lessons in life every day.

In the late 1950’s, Rick remembers that there wasn’t a lot for young people to do in Southern Chesapeake. Rick and his best friend former Congressman Randy Forbes, would sit on the Forbes’ side porch and ask each other, “What do you want to do?” In most instances, one would respond to the other, “Nothin’ to do.” In retrospect, Rick would not change his memories of growing up, which included playing with friends in the neighborhood, sandlot baseball, and other backyard sport competitions.

Rick’s memories of Great Bridge High School remain some of his fondest to-date. Rick credits Great Bridge High’s principal, former Virginia State Senator Harry Blevins, with being a huge influence in his life. Principal Blevins was responsible for inspiring Rick ‘s pride in community and for actively helping him secure loans and scholarships to attend college.

After graduating from Great Bridge High School in 1970, Rick received his Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from Ferrum College and Old Dominion College (University). He obtained his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Virginia and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Virginia Tech.

Rick’s first teaching assignment took him to Great Bridge High School. His first administrative assignment was at Truitt Junior High School in South Norfolk. Three years later, Rick became the youngest principal in the Chesapeake Public School System when he took over the helm of Southeastern Elementary School. For more than two decades, Rick proudly served as an administrator in five different schools, including brand new schools – Greenbrier and Hickory middle schools. Rick retired from public education in 2004.

Since retiring, Rick has been active in the public and private sectors, including 16 years on the Chesapeake City Council, with six of those years serving as mayor.

When asked about his career choice and his decision to seek public service, Mayor West’s typical answer is: “I have been truly blessed to have had amazing family, mentors, educators and friends who genuinely cared about me. Their love and guidance, along with my commitment to my faith, have helped mold and shape me into the man I am today.”


  • Lifelong resident of Chesapeake with over 46 years of service to the community.
  • Thirty plus years as teacher and administrator for Chesapeake Public Schools
  • Fifteen years of leadership on Chesapeake City Council including service as a member, Vice-Mayor and Mayor.
  • Partnered with local, state, and federal governments to secure funds for Chesapeake’s first public swimming pool at the Cuffee Center.
  • Navigated through the varied challenges presented by COVID 19 holding regular Mayoral Round Table Sessions keeping residents informed of city adaptations.
  • Led the city through the tragic mass shootings at the Battlefield Boulevard Walmart.
  • Approved the budget that gave Public Safety and City Employees significant pay raises avoiding massive staff shortages and ensuring that residents receive the services they need.