BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Emerge Center named Deanna Whittle as its new Chief Executive Officer, who will start the role on July 1. Whittle is succeeding Melissa Juneau, who served as CEO for 12 years.
Baton Rouge native Whittle has experience in the healthcare field, and started her career as a nurse at Woman’s Hospital. She has since served in senior-level roles for multiple local organizations, including Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Ochsner Home Medicare Corporation and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.
Most recently, she served as vice president of the southern region at The Innovation Institute, a healthcare innovation company focused on transforming care delivery.
After an extensive national executive search, Whittle was selected from a field of nearly 200 applicants. Whittle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Master of Business Administration from the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business.
Whittle will oversee the Emerge enterprise, which includes The Emerge Center, The Emerge School for Autism and The Emerge Foundation.
The Emerge Center provides innovative therapies to children with autism and individuals with other communication challenges to achieve independence.
The Emerge School launched in 2018 as the state’s first public charter school specifically designed for children with autism. The school served twenty students within two classrooms at The Emerge Center during its first year of operation.
Plans to expand the school are underway and construction on a new 7,000-square-foot-facility on Emerge’s campus starts this summer. The building is expected to be completed by the spring 2020.