Carlton Wright – Director of Bands
A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Carlton J. Wright attended school the Montgomery County School System and graduated from G.W. Carver High School. He earned the Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Alabama A&M University in 1986. He was awarded the Master of Arts Degree in Music Education from Hampton University (Virginia) in 1993. In 1984 Wright received a commissioned of 2 nd Lieutenant in the United Stated Army Reserve. The former Captain Wright proudly served in various positions until his honorable discharge.
Mr. Wright’s previous teaching assignments include, Minor High School, Adamsville, Alabama, George Washington Carver High School-Montgomery, and Fairfield High School. Throughout his career, Mr. Wright’s bands have consistently earned superior ratings at district, state, regional, and national band festivals in the concert, jazz, and marching band genres. In 2013, Wright was named Director of Bands his undergraduate Alma Mater, Alabama A&M University, in Huntsville.
His teaching philosophies are partially influenced by his friends and mentors such as; Mr. Curtis Hollinger, Mr. Barrett Alexander, I, Mr. Arthur B. Wesley, Dr. Sue Samuels, Mr. Arthur Means, Mr. Oscar Watts, Mrs. Dianne Johnson, Dr. Jon Remley, Mr. William T. Robinson, III, and the late Mr. Barney E Smart, Sr.
Mr. Wright is an active trumpeter, clinician, and adjudicator for various band related activities. Some of his past invitations include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Samford University; Alabama State University; Miles College; Stillman College; Hampton University; Mississippi State University; Montgomery, Alabama County Schools; Houston County, Alabama Schools; Calhoun County, Alabama Schools, DeKalb County, Georgia Public Schools, GMEA Adjudicator, and ABA All-state Band Clinician.
Wright attends the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he is serves as a trumpeter and Assistant Orchestra Director. Mr. Wright holds membership in the following organizations: National Education Association (NEA), Alabama Education Association (AEA), National Association for Music Educators (NafME), Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), Alabama Bandmasters Association (ABA), Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Beta Mu Band Fraternity, Incorporated, and Tau Beta Sigma Band Sorority, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
His parents are the late James and Adeline Wright. He is married to the former Jocelyn Payton. They have three wonderful children: Walter J. Payton, Carmen, and Jaylen; and a very loyal dog, Sno.
Mario T. Warren – Asst. Director of Bands
Mario T. Warren is the Assistant Director of Bands and chief music arranger at Alabama A&M University. His responsibilities include conducting the symphonic band and assisting in the administration and conducting of the “Marching Maroon and White” Band and AAMU Pep Band.
He is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and a graduate of Fairley High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Tennessee State University where he was a conducting student of Edward L. Graves and Dr. Kevin Davenport. He studied orchestration and arranging under Mr. James Sexton. Mr. Warren completed his Master’s Degree in Education from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan.
Prior to his appointment at Alabama A&M University, he taught in Detroit Public Schools, River Rouge School District and Memphis City Schools for 14 years. Under his leadership, his high school bands won several prestigious awards and consistently received superior ratings in festivals around the country.
Mr. Warren is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity and the National Association of Music Education. He is an active adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States and has arranged music for numerous high school and college band programs throughout the country.
Shelman Drewey Miller – Assistant Director
Atlanta, GA native, Shelman Drewey Miller, began his musical career at an early age. His formal teaching began at age six when he was first introduced to the piano. Shelman began learning the violin as a part of the elementary school orchestra. While continuing private piano lessons, Shelman won several superior ratings in National Piano Guild Competitions. His musical training continued to venture into new instruments as he was recruited to play tuba in middle school. By the time Mr. Miller graduated from Benjamin Elijah Mays High School, he had performed with every ensemble offered– piano with the jazz band, tuba with the marching and symphonic bands, and trombone with the concert band. While in high school, Shelman also performed for the Georgia Music Educator Association, was principal tuba player for the Atlanta Public Schools Youth Orchestra, and was selected to be a member of the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Marching Band.
Shelman resides in Huntsville, AL where he has taught in the Huntsville City School System since 2002. He is currently the band director at Columbia High School in Huntsville, AL. Mr. Miller stays musically active by performing regularly with community bands such as the Huntsville Concert Band and the Twickenham Winds. Shelman has performed in ensembles to accompany the Aeolians of Oakwood University, as well as the Alabama A & M University Concert Choir. Shelman is also the tuba player for Coolbone Brass Band of New Orleans and has toured Ecuador, France, Italy, and Turkey, playing for several Jazz festivals such as the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. Mr. Miller also serves as pianist for the Male and Youth Choirs at West Mastin Lake Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL as well as the adult choir at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL.
Shelman earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Instrumental Music Education at Alabama A & M University where he has also taught Applied Lessons to low brass music majors as an adjunct instructor. He is currently Assistant Band Director at his alma mater, AAMU.
Shelman is a member of the National Educators Association, Alabama Educators Association, Huntsville Educators Association, National Association for Music Education, Alabama Bandmasters Association, and Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc.
Ms. Sherryl Forman
Nakesha Gill Burks – Fabulous Flags Coordinator
Nakesha Gill Burks is a native of Mobile, Alabama and was educated in the Mobile County Public School System where she was a 1996 graduate of the C.F. Vigor High School.
She is an alumnus of Alabama A&M University, where she was a member of the Marching Maroon and White Color Guard, Phi Beta Lambda Business Fraternity Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated.
Nakesha brings over nine years of guard/dance choreography experience and leadership to the AAMU Color Guard Program. She is responsible for the operations, direction and guidance of the AAMU Color Guard Program (“Fabulous Flags”).
A former Lockheed Martin employee and banking industry professional, Nakesha, currently is the Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Business and Finance at Alabama A&M University and works on the University Commencement Committee. Nakesha, the businesswoman, also finds time in her busy schedule to do consulting for weddings, parties and event planning.
On a more personal note, Nakesha is highly engaged with philanthropic opportunities supporting Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, other service based organizations, scholarship initiatives, and St. Luke Christian Church. A family focused professional, Nakesha, is the first of 4 sibling graduates of Alabama A&M University. She is an avid supporter and proponent of AAMU especially in her home city of Mobile, where she often connects students with the university and its admission’s office because she knows first-hand the value of a “Bulldog Degree.” She proudly makes it her mission to mentor young professionals during their time at Alabama A&M University and beyond.
Chrishana Granger – Dancin’ Divas Coordinator
Chrishana “Shana” Granger, joined the Marching Maroon and White Band Staff in 2009 with over 15 years of dance experience. She is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Mobile, Alabama at the age of 13. She is an alumna of Alabama A&M University and a former member of the Dancin’ Divas Team. Chrishana served as a devoted member of the squad for 4 years, serving as Captain for 3 of those years. During her freshman year as a Dancin’ Diva, she was selected to represent the University as a member of the SWAC/MEAC Scholastic All-Star Cheer and Dance Team in Atlanta, Georgia. As a sophomore member, Chrishana is credited for establishing what eventually became the team’s permanent name,“Dancin’ Divas”. During her senior year, Chrishana was recognized for being the 2004 Top Graduate in the School of Business/International Business program as well as a Presidential Gold Medallion Honors Recipient. During her matriculation at Alabama A&M, Chrishana’s additional dance accomplishments included: implementing a dance clinic for young aspiring dancers during her reign as Miss Senior, choreographing for the Miss Alabama A&M University Pageant, and participating on dance troupes such as the Tennessee Valley Viper Vixens Arena Football Dance Team, AAMU’s first hip-hop Dance Group, and Cast Dreams Dance Team. Following her graduation from Alabama A&M, Chrishana obtained a Master’s Degree from Columbia College and continued to sharpen her dance and choreography talents as evidenced by her local contributions. She performed in a local “Dream Girls” musical production as well as Murder Mystery Theatrical Production; composed dance routines for individuals seeking choreography assistance; and, choreographed group efforts for the Lee High School “Confederettes” Dance Team, Butler High School “Golden Divas” Dance Team, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. When Chrishana’s time is not occupied with the arts, she is spending time with her husband and 2 children, Savannah and Sam. She currently works with Department of Defense as a Senior Procurement Analyst and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the Junior League of Huntsville. Chrishana is very excited to share her knowledge and love for the arts and is excited to be back with the MMW family.