12/19/2012 12:05 pm ET

Arne Duncan Visits Newtown, Sends Video Message To Teachers Hailing Courage, 'Quiet Heroism'

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is visiting Newtown, Conn., Wednesday, following the Friday massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 27 people, including 20 children.

Duncan will speak with school staff and plans to attend the wake of Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, whose heroic efforts helped save many at the school. Hochsprung died while lunging at the gunman. She had dedicated her life to education.

In a video message to educators Tuesday, Duncan hailed the Sandy Hook teachers' courage and "quiet heroism," adding, "no one could possibly ask for this kind of sacrifice."

Duncan's trip comes just days after President Barack Obama's Sunday visit to Newtown, where the president spoke at a vigil for the victims of the shooting and also privately met with Hochsprung's two daughters.

"If there is even one step we can take to save another child or another parent, or another town, then surely we have an obligation to try," Obama said Sunday.

Duncan reaffirmed that statement in his message to the nation's teachers.

"We will try. ... We will do everything in our power to keep schools as safe havens where educators can fulfill their mission in life -- to teach and help raise our children," Duncan said. "Please know that your work on behalf of our children is deeply valued. And please know that -- like the families of Newtown coping with their losses -- you, too, are not alone."

Watch Duncan's full video message above.



Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting